Leaky tanker covers half of NL in stench

Brandweer fire department Volkswagen
Stock image of a Dutch fire department Volkswagen vehiclephoto: cakifoto / DepositPhotos

A leak in a tanker containing petrolad, a collective name for oils used in vehicle engines, in Alblasserdam caused a stench in a large part of the Netherlands on Saturday. There were even complaints about the intense smell from Germany. An NL Alert was sent to warn people to keep their doors and windows closed, AD reports.

Petrolad is a harmful substance, so emergency services immediately sounded the alarm. On Saturday afternoon the fire department announced that no large amounts of the substances spread past the company itself. According to local safety office Veiligheidsregio Zuid-Holland Zuid, only a miniscule amount of the substance can cause a massive stench. Add to that the strong wind that blew on Saturday, and half of the Netherlands was covered in the smell.

The fire department is still investigating what caused the leak. When they arrived at the scene, the tanker measured at 110 degrees Celsius - 40 degrees above the allowable temperature for the substance. This automatically opened a pressure relieve valve, to prevent an explosion, and released the stench into the air. 

Firefighters immediately started cooling the tanker and created a "water screen" to try and reduce the smell. By Saturday night, most of the Netherlands could breathe the air in their homes again. Though as the water in the water screen ended up in the sewer, the area around Alblasserdam may smell the stench again in the coming days.