Viet Nam News
ĐẮK NÔNG – Đắk Nông authorities yesterday denied that the recent alkali leakage had caused fish deaths and skin allergies among some residents in the affected area.
They said scientific confirmation of the impact of the leakage was awaited.
Đắk Nông Province People’s Committee Office Chief Ngô Xuân Lộc said at a press meeting yesterday that 13 people had developed symptoms of allergy, with blisters forming on their skin after they came in contact with the water in Đắk Yao stream, into which some amount of the alkaline fluid had leaked.
The Đắk Nông Department of Health said the patients, 10 of whom were children, were believed to have dermatitis, but the cause of the disease was not known yet.
Most of the patients have recovered and the local health stations have not found other similar cases.
Lộc said there were dead fish in the stream, but it did not necessarily mean that the alkali leakage had caused the deaths.
“It is true that a part of the chemical fluid flowed into the Đắk Yao stream,” Lộc said.
“Yet, the answers to queries regarding the scale of the (leakage’s) impact, its consequences and how to handle them if there are any, will have to wait for the final result from the specialised agency,” Lộc said.
The natural resources and environment ministry is still testing the water samples taken from the Đắk Yao stream before it can conclude whether the alkali leakage at the Nhân Cơ aluminium manufacturing firm has affected the environment.
In a report on August 4, the Nhân Cơ aluminum manufacturer’s investor said that the alkali leakage incident late last month did not affect human health or the environment.
The state-owned Vietnam National Coal – Mineral Industries Corporation (Vinacomin) also said in its report, submitted on August 4 to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, that it would ask its subsidiary Đắk Nông Aluminum Company (DAC) to install CCTV and monitor 24/7 the area where liquid alkali is stored.
A line had broken in this area on July 23, letting concentrated alkaline fluid flow out into the environment.
A worker turned off the line’s valve and managed to stop the leakage in four minutes, according to the report.
An inspection team led by the MoNRE’s Environmental Impact Assessment and Appraisal Department, along with the local department of the MoNRE, arrived at the scene the following day to determine the preliminary impact of the incident.
The team said 9.53cu.m of alkali had leaked, of which some amount was absorbed by 600sq.m of earth outside the manufacturer’s premises. Some of the alkaline fluid flowed into the neighbouring Đắk Yao stream via sluice gate number three.
After implementing a number of chemical measures for alkali neutralisation, the pH scale of the affected soil and water returned to levels permitted by Việt Nam’s standards.
The DAC, which is in charge of running the Nhân Cơ aluminum manufacturing firm, is working with Chinese contractor China Aluminum International Engineering Corporation (CHALIECO) to inspect all stages from design to operations to discover the cause of the broken line. CHALIECO is the only contractor of the Nhân Cơ aluminum project.
The Nhân Cơ manufacturing firm, located in Nhân Cơ Commune, had VNĐ7.45 trillion (US$334.1 million) in investment as of August 2013. Construction began in 2010, with the aim of producing some 650,000 tonnes of aluminum oxide a year by exploiting bauxite minerals. – VNS