Residents in the Knocklynn area of Coleraine have been left bewildered after Causeway Coast & Glens Council employees apparently attempted to clean up a diesel spill with a washing-up liquid solution.
Diesel was spewed over the roads and several cul de sacs in the area on Monday when the council refuse lorry was making its weekly blue bin collection.
A local resident contacted the council’s environmental services department about the issue on Tuesday following the Bank Holiday, describing it as ‘an accident waiting to happen’.
The resident said: “This isn’t the first time this has happened, I have reported it to the council on at least three or four previous occasions.
“We have had a number of accidents in this area when it’s wet and cars come round the roundabout and hit a patch of diesel which has been spilled. The BT broadband boxes have been wiped out on at least three occasions because a driver has lost control when they have hit the spilt diesel at the corner. The last thing we want is any more accidents.”
Council employees were sent out with the road sweeper on Tuesday which had no impact on the diesel spill whatsoever.
A spokesperson for the residents said: “I contacted the Director of Environmental Services three times by email and finally got a reply assuring me that the matter was being addressed. Yes, it is being addressed but it certainly hasn’t been resolved.
“What was the point of trying to treat a diesel spill with a water spray and brush lorry?”
Council staff returned again on Wednesday morning and spent around 40 minutes working on the spill, this time with a Fairy Liquid-type solution which was ineffective. They came back later that evening with a chemical spray before the sweeper returned on Thursday morning.
Another resident said: “Who would even dream of treating a diesel spill with Fairy Liquid, would you not put some sort of quarry or cement dust down?
“Surely if this has happened on more than one occasion there is an issue with the council machinery and if that is the case why not get it fixed instead of spending three days sending men to clean up the mess, is this not a waste of money and labour which could be put to better use?”
With previous attempts to clean up the spillage having had little or no effect, more council employees arrived in Knocklynn on Thursday evening to put down bags of absorbent granules which the sweeper attempted to clean up on Friday morning. However, it cast clouds of dust in the air covering the cars of some residents further adding to their frustrations.
The residents’ spokeman commented: “This is a joke. I asked a council employee would the granules they were putting down damage the tarmac and cause potholes in a month or two.
“This has been ongoing for four days now, seriously how hard is it clean up a spill in a residential area?”
The Local Democracy Reporter contacted the council to ask what the issue was with the refuse lorry, why this is a recurring matter and if they normally treated diesel spills with washing-up liquid, however, at time of going to press there was no response.