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EPA closes two fuel stations in Sekondi-Takoradi

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EPAThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday temporarily shut down two fuel and gas filling stations in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis of the Western Region.

It also revoked the operating permit of another station for breaching environmental, safety and security standards.

The affected stations are Tropical Gas, located at Cocoa Product Industrial Area in Takoradi, a fuel station at Shama Junction as well as a building, which is under construction at Sekondi Zongo Junction intended for a fuel station.

Meanwhile, operators of the Goil fuel station at Edzii Roundabout in Takoradi were tasked to activate its dysfunctional smoke detector and fire alarm system with immediate effect, and also renovate its fuel tank farm, which had developed cracks.

They were also charged to deploy security personnel at the facility to ward-off commercial vehicles that use the areas as a parking lot, in view of the risk posed to staff and the public.

The Deputy Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Alfred Sugri Tia, gave the directives during an inspection of some fuel and gas filling stations in the twin city.

The inspection formed part of a nationwide tour embarked upon by the Ministry and the EPA, to enforce environmental and safety regulations at the fuel stations, following the Goil station flood and fire disaster on June 3, this year in Accra, which claimed more than 100 lives.

Dr. Tia said government was determined to halt fuel and gas stations, whose operations posed safety and security risk to the citizenry and urged the media and the general public to support the exercise.

The exercise had already been conducted in the Central, Eastern, Ashanti and Greater Accra regions, and from Western Region it would move to the Volta Region.

The Deputy Minister urged fuel station operators to fence their facilities in view of the hazardous and flammable chemicals sold there and allow a reasonable buffer around their facilities.

He also tasked them to employ qualified personnel as fuel attendants, instead of recruiting Senior High School graduates without taking them through any requisite training, saying “this job requires professional hands since it is very risky to the staff and the public.”

At Shama Junction, Dr. Tia was surprised to see a fuel station, which had operated for the past 15 years without any permit from the EPA, the Assembly, insurance covering, non-existence pavement around the facility, with trucks parking at the area.

“I wonder how such a facility has been receiving fuel from some oil marketing companies’ in spite of these challenges” he opined.

He directed that the facility should remain closed until it had fulfilled all the statutory requirements set out by the EPA and other relevant agencies.

Mr. John Pwamang, Deputy Executive Director in charge of Field Operations at the EPA, suggested that, the guidelines that grant licences and permits to persons to operate fuel and gas stations must be revised in view of the many lapses identified in them.

Mr. William Hayfron-Acquah, Chief Programme Officer at the EPA, insisted that all fuel station operators must undertake daily checking of the fuel tank farms, to ascertain whether water had contaminated the fuel or any leakage underground, to avert any disaster.

Mr. Kwesi Temeng Amoako, Owner of Tropical Gas, whose facility was closed down, said he would comply with the recommendations issued by EPA and the other relevant agencies.

Source: GNA

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