Factory to pay for oil leak

The owners of a defunct fruit juice factory near Arta, in western Greece, will be charged for the cleanup of the Arachthos River and its banks following the leakage of around 2 tons of crude oil from old fuel tanks on the abandoned site, the Environment Ministry said yesterday. Local officials ordered the immediate decontamination of the area at the end of last week, after residents reported spotting oil in the river. The Public Power Corporation (PPC) has frozen the operation of a local hydroelectric power station to stop the oil being swept into local farms and the nearby Amvrakikos Gulf. It remained unclear yesterday when the oil leaked from the site of the Esperida factory, which was closed down in 1998. A European Union directive adopted by the previous conservative government last September obliges offending firms to pay to clean up the pollution they are found to have caused.