Aquarium water ruled safe after diesel spill
PLYMOUTH'S National Marine Aquarium's water quality has been given the all-clear following last week's diesel spillage.
The aquarium put emergency procedures in place on Friday to protect its fish and animals following the fuel spill on Thursday.
Laboratory test results, received yesterday, show there has been no contamination of the tanks' water.
The action followed a major red diesel spill from a fishing vessel at Victoria Wharf on Thursday, which spread out as far as the Breakwater within hours of being reported.
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Steve Matchett, curator at the NMA, said: "The results give us the all-clear.
"What we don't know is if the contaminated water might still percolate down to our supply, so we will be monitoring it very closely.
"We have been advised that this is not likely but we'll keep a close eye", he added.
Plymouth's Marine Laboratory's lead scientist on pollutants and contaminants, Professor Jim Readman, has been working closely with the Coxside-based attraction to analyse samples, particularly from its borehole, which supplies water to the aquarium to check for seepage of the fuel into the intake.
He said that it could be 'days or weeks' before the diesel slick had dispersed fully.
"Diesel's quite a light oil," said Prof Readman.
"It's buoyant, so it'll stay on the surface in a light sheen.
"Being light, you tend to find much of it will evaporate quite quickly", he added.
"It will also become mixed in with the surface of the sea and it's quite degradable, taking days to weeks to degrade."