Clarification!

July 1, 2005

IN our article “Fuel Spill ThreatensThousands” in last week’s edition, wequoted Natalie Montiel, chief of waterquality and operations for the HerediaPublic Services Company (ESPH), assaying the country follows the EuropeanUnion’s standards for hydrocarbon concentrationbecause Costa Rica lacks itsown hydrocarbon parameters.Though Costa Rica has no standardfor “total petroleum hydrocarbon” concentrations,Ricardo Morales, from theRisk Management Office of the Ministryof Public Health, says Costa Rica doeshave hydrocarbon concentrations standardsfor drinking water that are “in linewith the U.S. Environmental ProtectionAgency and the World HealthOrganization.” The country’s Reglamentopara Agua Potable lists parametersfor specific substance concentrationssuch as benzene and policyclicaromatic hydrocarbons, he said.Additionally, soil samples were takenfrom inside the southwestern part of thegas station thought to be responsible forthe fuel spill, not southwest of the station,as reported.Morales told The Tico Times lastweek that he couldn’t reveal the namesof the foreign companies interested incleaning up the spill; he later clarified thecommission assigned to deal with thespill has no “set candidates or preferences”for the job because the officialbidding process won’t begin until nextmonth. He added that the commission isnot required to hire a national expert tooversee the process but has decided todo so for practical reasons.Morales also clarified it was theMinistry of Public Health that orderedthe closure of the gas station, while theMinistry of Environment and Energy(MINAE) withdrew authorization for theNational Oil Refinery (RECOPE) to sellfuel to the station in Barreal, in theprovince of Heredia.

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