A former NAM drilling location on the island of Ameland was washed away by high tide during the storm surge on Tuesday, carrying contaminated soil out to sea.
Translation by Traci White
The Leeuwarder Courant reports that a strong oil odour is currently pervading the entire beach, according to CDA council member Jeroen de Jong. De Jong and many other island residents have long expressed concerns about the abandoned drilling location, which was located near kilometre marker 3 in Hollum and was used in the 1960s. Drilling was carried out at the site for gas, but was deemed unprofitable and was eventually abandoned.
De Jong says that the soil contains barium, a heavy metal. In 2012, Persbureau Ameland reported that other hazardous substances, including lead, were present underground as a result of the exploratory drilling in the 1960s.
Erosion has been eating away at the area for years, and the extreme conditions on Tuesday led to a large portion of the dune being carried out to sea: there is now approximately a meter of dune left in place between the sand fence and the beach. NAM had reportedly begun cleaning up the contaminated site in the first few days of the new year.
Photo source: @thankyouameland/Instagram