|The event was attended by a US Congressional delegation, including Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Richard Shelby, Senator Michael Crapo, Representative Jim Cooper and Representative Peter Welch.— VNA/VNS Photo
DA NANG (VNS ) — The first stage of efforts to treat dioxin contaminated soil with In-Pile Thermal Desorption (IPTD or thermal remediation) at Da Nang Airport began on Saturday.
Viet Nam and the US have jointly commissioned a thermal treatment system that will remmediate 45,000 cubic meters of dioxin-contaminated soil that has been excavated and placed inside a containment structure at the airport.
The historic Environmental Remediation of Dioxin Contamination Project is an important milestone in their bilateral relationship and for the people of Da Nang.
The event was attended by a US Congressional delegation, including Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Richard Shelby, Senator Michael Crapo, Representative Jim Cooper and Representative Peter Welch.
Senator Leahy, Viet Nam's Deputy Minister of Defence Nguyen Chi Vinh, US Ambassador David Shear and Da Nang People's Committee Vice Chairman Nguyen Ngoc switched on the thermal treatment system with senior US and Vietnamese government officials and media representatives in attendance.
"The progress we see here today would not be possible without the strong, collaborative partnership of the United States Agency for International Development and the Vietnamese Air Defense-Air Force Command," said Ambassador David Shear.
"As a result of this partnership, I have witnessed a strengthening of the broader bilateral relations between our two governments."
The governments of Viet Nam and the US have been collaborating on issues related to Agent Orange since 2000. US assistance in environmental remediation and health has received broad bipartisan congressional support in Washington.
In particular, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont has strongly advocated the dioxin cleanup effort to help address the legacy of the war and advance the relationship between the two countries.
"Today, we are here to pay tribute to the joint United States-Vietnamese effort to address the legacy of Agent Orange," said Leahy.
"By cleaning up Da Nang Airport, we will eliminate the danger to the health of the people here, and we will create economic opportunities. As others have said, it is an example of the progress our two countries have made since diplomatic relations were re-established in 1995," he said.
The containment and treatment structure built on the airport site currently holds approximately 45,000 cubic meters of dioxin-contaminated soil and sediment.
The contaminated soil and sediment will be heated by 1,254 heating wells to a temperature of 335 degrees Celsius over four months, with approximately 95 per cent of the dioxin estimated to be destroyed within the structure.
The second phase of excavation began in February 2014, with another remediation treatment to follow. The governments expect the project to be completed by the end of 2016.
The five-year project draws on a total fund of US$84 million, of which VND35 billion ($1.6 million) comes from the Vietnamese Government, aiming to clean an estimated 73,000 cubic metres of contaminated soil at the airport.
The treated soil will later be removed from the containment structure and tested for traces of contaminants before being used as a filling material at the site.
Da Nang Airport is referred to as a dioxin "hot spot", together with several sites in other provinces such as Bien Hoa in Dong Nai. — VNS