Dubai: Municipal investigators are probing a mystery spill of unknown origin discharged into the Gulf waters early Friday off Jumeirah.
Blanketing an area the size of a half-dozen football fields, a large copper-orange glop flowed from a stormwater drainage opening and slowly drifted eastward before breaking down in the water later in the day along the Jumeirah beachfront.
Municipal staff was dispatched to the scene of contamination and chemical samples were taken to identify the compounds contained in the oily muck.
Officials with the federal Ministry of Environment and Water as well as Dubai Municipality could not be reached by Gulf News deadline for comment on Friday. Ecological impact from the sweeping discharge won’t be known until compounds are identified and recommendations are forthcoming from laboratory testing.
Residents living along Jumeirah Beach have seen their fair share over the years of storm sewer discharges into Gulf waters along Dubai’s white sandy beaches as unscrupulous waste haulers have dumped all manner of liquid waste into storm drains rather than paying fees to dispose of the materials at properly licensed facilities.
However, the magnitude of yesterday’s mystery discharge was the largest ever seen in the area by some witnesses.
One witness told Gulf News the waste was discovered “off the beach at dusk and all morning there has been a bright orange stain on the sea. It is quite thick.”
The discharged material was so glutinous in fact, there was a clear line separating the blue waters and the muck similar to “light and day,” he said. The consistency of the material was sticky enough that the line of demarcation held throughout the better part of the morning.
The place of discharge into Gulf waters was a storm sewer outtake opening located on the eastern edge of Dubai Offshore Sailing Club.
The opening is linked to untold kilometres of storm sewage infrastructure throughout new Dubai.
Waters in the immediate vicinity of the sailing club were heavily concentrated with the oily compound which upon closer examination appeared to be laden with heavy sediment.
The sailing club marina, which houses roughly 150 vessels owned by members within protective sea walls, was heavily blanketed by the orange glop clinging to docks and rocks. It’s not known at this point if the discharged material is corrosive and poses any risk of damage to fiberglass hulls.
Brett Trevethan, acting general manager of the sailing club, said the discharge “was a solid, perfect half moon in the morning” lying on the surface of the water.
Earlier in the morning, Trevethan said he could hear the wastewater flowing from the stormwater opening into the waters east of the marina because the volume of the liquid was so high.
“This morning it was gushing,” he said in an interview. “ I’ve never seen anything surge like this before. It came through with quite a force.”
After cursory inspection of the inner area of the club’s marina, Trevethan said he was unsure how long it would take to clean out the orange film covering the surface water between docks and sailboats.
Trevethan was on hand to meet municipal staff and said he was informed that drainage officials would be contacted to “determine the source” of the discharge.