Oil company fined in Philippines

The Philippine government has fined an oil company almost $550,000 for an oil leak causing pollution to groundwater.

The leak contaminated water in the basement of the West Tower Condominium in Makati City and necessitated the evacuation of around 80 families.

The leak began in July and was plugged in November but oil and grease levels have still not returned to the permitted levels.

The company faces further fines until this situation has been resolved.

The water will continue to be tested until samples show that wastewater is compliant with the effluent standards set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

DENR secretary, Ramon J. P. Paje said: "Under Section 27 of Republic Act No. 9275, otherwise known as the Clean Water Act, one of the prohibited acts is discharging, injecting or allowing to seep into the soil or sub-soil any substance in any form that would pollute the groundwater."

The Supreme Court has prevented the company from reopening the pipeline until further notice while it resolves a lawsuit filed by the families who have been displaced by the incident.

While the company has accepted responsibility for the leak, questions are still being asked as to why it took so long to deal with the leak. Alison Brown



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