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On 18 August 1999, heavy fuel leaking from the storage tank of a car parts factory reached the Loire through the rain drainage network. The company involved estimated the spilled quantity at three cubic metres. It resorted to specialized companies (one of which called upon two experts from Cedre) with a view to cleaning the polluted areas and to recovering the fuel spilled in the river.

A filtering boom, made from a wire fence, branches and straw, was set up downstream to trap the pollutant and to allow water to flow normally. A barricade was built upstream to control the current and water level, thus facilitating the passage and the cleaning of the banks.

The clean-up operation was carried out by directly pumping the pollutant trapped by vegetation and rinsing was carried out using fire hoses. The efficient and environment-friendly operation allowed the recovery of 15 cubic metres of fuel in three days, revealing a sharp underestimation of the quantity spilled.

The operation was interrupted on 25 August by the administrative authorities (the Prefecture Maritime) and the factory was forced to close the cleaning site due to pressure from the media, and from fishing and environmental associations. Two mechanical shovels continued to excavate the upper sediment layer and the banks that were still polluted until 27 August.

Name:  Loire

Date: 18 August 1999

Location: France

Quantity transported: 31,000 tonnes

Type of pollutant: heavy fuel oil

Quantity spilled: 3 m³

Type of structure: factory

Pollution in the Loire river. Source: Cedre.

Last update: June 2011

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