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Question
Posted by: Bb | 2005/12/05

Oily layer on soil

I live in the West Beach / Blouberg area. When we built here 2 years ago our soil was basically beach sand where the water immediately drained away. Lately the water just sits on top of the soil and when I scratch the surface with my finger its bone dry underneath.

When chatting to friends in Table View and Parklands I learnt that they have been experiencing the same thing.

Do you think its possible that the Caltex refinery is causing this? We were very concerned that it may be airborne and we could be inhaling this.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageEnviroHealth expert

Interesting question i.e. I'm not sure! I'll make some enquiries and see if I can find out more - please check the forum again later in the week.

The Caltex refinery is definitely a contributing factor to air pollution in the area, and fallout from this could end up on the soil - but I think it would be very difficult to pin this on one pollution source. I'm also wondering whether effluent into the sea from their outlet pipe, and other marine oil spills, could have an influence.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Bb | 2005/12/10

Thanks for everything, Ill let you know what I uncover!

Reply to Bb
Posted by: EnviroHealth Expert | 2005/12/09

My colleagues who run an environmental management consultancy recommend Geo Pollution Technologies. Their Cape Town number is 447 3192. The Table View Ratepayers Association (083 703 0183), given their long involvement with pollution issues in the area, may also be able to advise on this.

Please stay in touch about this issue - I would be most interested to hear what transpires!

Reply to EnviroHealth Expert
Posted by: Bb | 2005/12/08

Thank you both for your advice, I really apreciate it!

E.E., When we started building it was white beach sand so we added lots of compost for the plants. I have just asked a friend who has lived in Table View for 15 years and had this problem ever since moving there, but unfortunately he cant answer your question regarding colour neither.

Our plants look the same, although we only planted them 2 years ago.

We dont have a borehole, but one of our friends who have the some problem does. The rest of them (everyone I know who lives in Table View / Parklands) does not.

Not one person I know who resides in the surrounding areas, does not experience this problem. You literally water then touch the surface to reveal bone bone dry sand underneath.

We are pretty well elevated as we live on a hill. I just cant understand it.

Sorry to ask you another question when you have been so helpful already, but which lab can I take a soil sample to and do you have any idea of cost?

Reply to Bb
Posted by: EnviroHealth Expert | 2005/12/07

Yes, thank you Karen, I was going to suggest the same: the only way to know for sure is to have a sample analysed.

A few queries: is there any visible discoloration to the soil or perhaps plants etc? Do you by any chance use borehole water?

One further suggestion is that the water table level may have risen, making the soil more waterlogged and reducing drainage - but this doesn't really sound like the 'bone dry' soil you mention.

Reply to EnviroHealth Expert
Posted by: Xtreme Projects | 2005/12/07

We are a Port Elizabeth environmental spill clean up company and are very involved with marine oil slicks etc. You need to take a soil sample to a lab specialist for analysis. You will know immediately whether the sand is contaminated and by what product.

Good Luck, Karen Kelly

Reply to Xtreme Projects
Posted by: Bb | 2005/12/06

Shall do, thank you. Oh, not sure if this is relevant or not but aparently people in Table View have been experiencing this for quite some years now.

Reply to Bb

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