The NSW Fire Brigade Hazardous Material team this afternoon evacuated the Narooma Library and a child care centre after a flammable and potentially explosive liquid was detected in a sewage pump station.
Photos courtesy of Fire and Rescue NSW Station 384 Moruya - click for larger
Council crews were conducting a routine inspection at the pump station off Field Street on Monday when they detected a strong smell of petrol.
The crew conducted an explosive atmosphere test, which returned a high reading, so they phoned the NSW Fire Brigade to assist.
The NSW Fire Brigade evacuated all people within a 200m radius of the pump station about 2.30pm, including the nearby child care centre and Narooma Library.
About 4.10pm the Hazmat team deemed the area safe.
Council’s Manager Water and Sewer Brett Corven said it appeared someone had poured a significant amount of petroleum product into the sewer system, either on a private property or via a sewer manhole.
“It was a significant enough amount to give a high explosive atmosphere reading,” he said.
“Notification was provided to the Environmental Protection Authority and thankfully, there has not been a discharge into the natural environment.
“We’ll also adjust the pump station to minimise potential damage to the sewage treatment plant.
“In the meantime we’ll be investigating this serious incident that put people and property at real risk.