Factory sewage system breaks, inundating houses and crops

August 10, 2023 - 07:39
The widespread flooding wreaked havoc on numerous residences, inflicting significant damage to property and crops.
The company has organised the deployment of on-site vehicles and personnel to clear and manage the downstream water flow. VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — On the morning of August 8th, the sewage system of the Tả Phời copper factory in Lào Cai experienced a critical malfunction and broke, leading to the inundation of more than 30 households downstream.

The widespread flooding wreaked havoc on numerous residences, inflicting significant damage to properties and crops.

According to the most recent report from the local People's Committee, a total of 46 households, with 220 people in the province, were affected by this incident. Important offices like the Party Committee, People's Committee, and Commune Police headquarters were also impacted by the flooding. The exact amount of damage to property and crops is still being assessed.

The initial investigation pointed to heavy and prolonged rainfall as the main cause, resulting in a significant buildup of water in the upstream waste lake.

Following the intense rainfall, the water level in the lake surged dramatically. This led to a problem with the overflow culvert, causing water to overflow into the lower reservoir area and rush downstream into Phời 3 Village.

The village road was submerged, and the vicinity around the People's Committee of Tả Phời commune was also flooded, causing a complete disruption of local traffic.

Cồ Văn Mìn, who lives in Phời 3 village, Tả Phời Commune, recounted how the incident unfolded rapidly, catching his family off guard.

"In the morning, my family was all at home when we suddenly heard alarmed shouts. Stepping outside, we were met with a swift and forceful flow of water. We acted promptly and moved to higher ground to ensure our safety. Our house suffered extensive flooding, leading to significant damage and loss of belongings. It was, however, fortunate that this occurred during daylight hours; otherwise, the consequences could have been far more severe," he said.

Rapid measures were undertaken by 1:30 p.m. on the same day to tackle the situation. The damaged sewer pipe was successfully sealed, leading to a gradual reduction in water levels downstream, thus ensuring the safety of the affected area.

Nguyễn Tam Tính, Director of Đồng Tả Phời -Vinacomin Joint Stock Company, said Tả Phời Copper Factory is equipped with a comprehensive drainage system specifically designed for managing dam and tailings.

This unfortunate incident can be attributed to an extended period of heavy rainfall, causing a significant influx of surface water to pour into the waste lake, he said.

The sheer volume of water overwhelmed the capacity of the overflow sewer pipe, resulting in its rupture. As a consequence, a torrent of water surged downstream, leading to the flooding of homes and crops along its path.

He said previously, with a careful watch on the prolonged rainy conditions, the Company proactively took steps by instructing relevant departments to regularly assess and reinforce the dam structure, ensuring safety standards were upheld.

Special focus was placed on preventing any malfunction in the overflow sluice, and efforts were made to keep the water level in the dam below the designated safety threshold.

Upon discovering the incident, swift measures were taken. The company quickly reported the situation and collaborated with the People's Committee of Tả Phời Commune to initiate evacuations from flood-prone areas.

Simultaneously, the company organised the deployment of on-site vehicles and personnel to clear and manage the downstream water flow. They also worked on reinforcing and securing the damaged sewer system.

The well-being of those affected is the Company's top concern, Tính said.

Immediate relief measures are being provided, including arranging temporary accommodation, ensuring access to clean water, and providing quick meals for those impacted by the event.

In the following steps, in close partnership with local authorities, the company will conduct a comprehensive assessment to determine the full extent of damages. This information will serve as the basis for providing support and compensation to individuals and communities adversely affected by this incident. VNS