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Philippine oil company fined $550,000 for spill pollution

An oil company has been fined a total of $550,000 by the Philippine government after an oil spill caused serious groundwater pollution.

The case revolves around a leak in the West Tower Condominium in Makati City, which began in July 2010 and was finally tackled and plugged by a spill control team in November. However, the spill contaminated the water in the basement of the condominium, leading to the evacuation of nearly 80 families.

It has now been found that the levels of oil and grease at the site have still not returned to normal and safe levels. This has led to the company being fined $550,000 for breaching Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regulations, as DENR secretary Ramon J.P Paje explained:

"Under Section 27 of Republic Act No. 9275, otherwise known as the Clean Water Act, one of the prohibited acts is discharging, injecting or allowing to seep into the soil or sub-soil any substance in any form that would pollute the groundwater."

The company involved have accepted responsibility for the leak, but have not been able to explain why spill control measures did not take effect sooner.

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