The Heredia gas station leak isn’t the only public-health threat Costa Rica has suffered because of recent hydrocarbon spills. Last December, a massive fire at a chemical storage facility at the Caribbean port of Moín left two dead and 20,000 without water when the unstable solvents benzene and toluene entered a nearby spring (TT, Dec. 15, 2006).
Environment and Energy Minister Roberto Dobles said earlier this year that the government would sue the company, Químicos Holanda, for at least ¢250 million (approximately $485,436) the state had spent thus far on cleanup (TT, Jan. 12).
Ministry spokeswoman Patricia Alpízar told The Tico Times this week that the suit has not yet been filed because the government is still in the process of calculating the monetary value of the damage caused by the fire, which produced a massive plume of smoke visible throughout the Caribbean coastal plain. Firefighters worked for nearly 11 hours to extinguish the blaze.