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WWF-Russia: diesel fuel spill in Norilsk requires Federal involvement

01 june 2020
Due to the technical incident 20 000 cubical meters of diesel fuel got into Daldykan and Ambarnaya rivers.

The changes of the water color were caught on satellite pictures.

“The distance from the broken reservoir to Ambarnaya river is about 12 km, and by the morning of May 31st the fuel must have reached the river. From there it’s approximately 20 km to Pyasino lake, so we think that today the June 1st the spill has got there” – says Alexey Knizhnikov Head of the Program for the Business Environmental Responsibility at WWF-Russia.

Diesel fuel spill took place in Norilsk on the facilities of TPP №3, which belongs to a company affiliated with Nornickel. The incident was caused by the disruption of the reservoir with the diesel fuel, which they store for powering TPP № 3 in case of gas-supply interruptions.

 “Diesel fuel is more toxic than the oil, and at the moment the circumstances appeared to be as massive as we can’t expect the efficient level of clean-up without contributions from Federal level, says Alexey Knizhnikov. I’d like to remind that according to legislation of Russian Federation, oil spills exceeding 5 000 tonnes – are the Federal level concern”.

WWF-Russia recalls EMERCOM, The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, and the Ministry of Transport of Russian Federation to provide assistance for organizing efficient oil spill response in the area on the Federal level. The consequences of the accident are threatening in terms of health and lives of local communities, they damage ecosystems, causing perish of fish and birds. 

satelite image depicting the differences in color of water in river

“The accident, that took place on may 29th brought us severe catastrophic outcome, that will stay active for more than one year. According to information from local residents, the spill moves with the current of Daldykan and Ambarnaya rivers, which provide water for the beautiful lake Pyasino and than they run into Karskoye sea. We share the concerns of the local people, as the consequences of such accidents especially in the North are keeping afloat long afterwards, – says Sergey Verkhovets, coordinator of the Arctic projects of WWF-Russia. – I’m speaking about the perish of fish and damaging effect of oil on birds feathers and poisoning of plenty of animals. Not to mention that terrific situation threatening a wild reindeer population on the West of Taimyr that occur earlier, while this species playing a vital role in life of local community. It is urgent that we need to stop spreading this poisonous slick along the Northern waterway. It is necessary to find the solution of supporting measures for indigenous peoples who manage and develop their traditional territories and resources of their motherland”.

Pre-trial investigation on criminal case is running by the officers of Internal Affairs authorities of Russian Federation. WWF-Russia’s experts monitor the incident and liaise with the subject-matter institutions for sorting out the problem.