October 6, 2008

Pillows, Sausages to Contain Oil Spills

By EVANS, Ryan

SAUSAGES, blankets, blotter pads and pillows will soon be protecting New Plymouth's waterways from oil and petrol spills.

It's not a ramshackle collection of old homeware, the items are all part of three new environmental spill kits donated to the New Plymouth Fire Brigade by the New Plymouth District Council on Thursday.

Costing about $700 each, the spill kits are designed for keeping small to medium sized spills from entering stormwater systems through gutter drains.

New Plymouth deputy fire chief John Nicholls says the kits are ideal for use at car crashes and the fire brigade attends about 100 crashes every year where the spill kits could come into play.

The sausages, blotter pads, pillows and a kitty litter-like substance are absorbent, NPDC drainage inspector Keith Scott says each pillow could absorb about a full car tank of petrol.

The blanket works as an absorbent filter -- built to adapt to the drain's size, water can pass through but oil and petrol are soaked up.

Mr Scott says the council wanted to help do its bit to keep the city's water safe from spills.

"We don't want polluted water flowing into our drains and these guys (the fire brigade) don't want to put dirty water into our waterways, so it's a partnership."

Mr Nicholls says now the kits have arrived, fire staff will begin training to use them.

"Currently when there's a spill we use an absorbent material or block the spill as much as possible then get the local authority to come and remove the liquid," he said.

"These spill kits can be used in a variety of ways and will be more effective in containing any spills and also protecting the environment."


(c) 2008 Daily News; New Plymouth, New Zealand. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.