Bioremedial clean-up of Guernsey’s Torrey Canyon quarry to feature on BBC 2 programme on Sunday 8 May

May 6th, 2011 by States of Guernsey Public Services Department

A BBC two documentary series will feature Public Services’ biological treatment project which is successfully cleaning up oil in the Torrey Canyon quarry.

The Torrey Canyon quarry, where bacteria are consuming the oil through a process of bioremediation, in the centre of this image of the Chouet headland (click image to expand ©States of Guernsey)

Britain’s Secret Seas’, a four part series, looks at the seas around the coast of Britain. The clean up operation will feature in the first episode of the series entitled ‘Giants of the West.’

The documentary will highlight the biological treatment programme called bioremediation that is currently being used at the quarry. The process uses micro-organisms that treat the quarry as a whole breaking down the oil present in the water and sediment.

Since treatment began in May 2010 there has been a big improvement, with an estimated two thirds of the oil on the surface of the quarry water being cleared so far.

Public Services Department senior project manager Rob Roussel said: ‘The project is proving a success and this innovative treatment has caught the attention of the BBC. The quarry has been undergoing the treatment for almost a year now with really positive results. This documentary provides an opportunity to show how successful the process can be.”

‘With Summer approaching we are preparing to increase our activity as the microbes work best in warmer conditions. Treatment started again last week and we hope to clear the oil currently present in the water this summer, although the amount of oil remaining in the sediment is a big unknown,’ he said.

The oil in the quarry is the consequence of the clean up attempt after the Torrey Canyon oil tanker sunk in 1967.

The super tanker hit rocks between Land’s End and the Scilly Isles, however the disaster had far reaching effects, with the spilled oil reaching the Channel Islands.

‘Giants of the West’, the first episode in the four-part series ‘Britain’s Secret Seas’, and the Torrey Canyon features as the largest ship wreck in Britain’s coastal waters. It will be broadcast on BBC two at 8pm on Sunday 8 May.


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