|Wastewater flows into local houses after the incident. - VNA/VNS Photo|
LÀO CAI — The waste pond breakage that discharged over 45,000cu.m of mud and untreated chemical-filled wastewater in Bảo Thắng District of northern mountainous Lào Cai Province last week will severely affect the ecosystems of surrounding areas. The recovery period will be long and challenging, said Dr Trần Thế Loãn, former deputy head of the Environmental Management Department under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
He said that the serious impact on the ecosystem can be expected due to the high level of acidity of the waste mud and fertiliser.
The breakage happened at noon on Friday at DAP Lào Cai factory of DAP No 2 Company under State-run Việt Nam National Chemical Group (Vinachem). The wastewater flooded households in Tằng Loỏng Town and Phú Nhuận Commune. Two houses were swept away and another 35 were affected along provincial road No 151.
According to the Department of Chemicals and Industrial Safety Techniques and Environment Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the incident has been so far controlled. Vinachem will continue to estimate the damage caused by the incident so as to offer compensation to affected residents while repairing broken infrastructure and monitoring any that has been weakened, Vietnam News Agency reported on Monday.
The water pond breakage was predicted as DAP No 2 company discovered water leaking prior to the incident.
A 100,000cu.m pond is planned to be constructed nearby to contain the mud.
Torrential rain between September 2 and 5 in Bảo Thắng District increased the water level of the dyke surrounding the pond and increased the pressure on the walls, leading to the rupture.
In July DAP No 2 Company was handed an administrative punishment of VNĐ150 million (US$6,500) for failing to properly ensure environmental regulations of the waste pond.
The Lào Cai Province’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment and Việt Nam Environment Administration will monitor the water quality of the factory and nearby streams which are connected to the Hồng (Red) River for further treatment solutions.
Loãn said that the waste pond breakage would not have a serious impact on water sources of the Hồng River because the waste water will be diluted when it flows into the river. — VNS