On the 30 June, fire and rescue services recieved complaints of a “heavy fuel odour” in the Vereeniging CBD, an investigation that followed found that petrol and gas fumes were coming from a main sewer network in the area. Gauteng Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Jacob Mamabolo had said on Wednesday that residents in Vereeniging have been assured that there is no reason to panic. “I want to assure the community that all measures have been taken to ensure the safety of the residents and that contingency plans are in place to avert any possible dangerous scenario,” the MEC said.
The fire and rescue department together with energy and chemical company Sasol conducted tests on Tuesday to ascertain the severity of the pollution. The filing station where the fumes were coming from has underground tanks with a 65 000 litres of petrol capacity, 37 000 litres of diesel and 440 litres of LPG. The filing station had been asked to provide its pressure test certificate to ascertain if that might not be the source of the leak, Mamabolo said. The owner indicated that he would conduct a second pressure test.
“Fire and rescue is currently awaiting the certificate, with the purpose of determining the leakage. Should the findings confirm the leakage, it will be expected for the owner to correct the leakage immediately,” he said. Contingency plans have been put in place. This includes having the Vereeniging fire station on 24-hour standby and making sure there is sufficient fire fighting foam at all three fire stations in the Emfuleni local municipality.