After several months of investigation, the Natural Resources and Environment Institute under the HCMC National University has issued a scientific report to the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment, concluding that the poorly-treated wastewater discharged by the plant has caused serious pollution to the Ba Cheo canal.
The plant, which is in charge of handling wastewater from 42 enterprises in the park, was an affiliate of Long Thanh Sonadezi Joint Stock Company.
After testing the wastewater samples taken from the plant, the department concluded that those samples exceeded the country’s allowable limits on color, chemical oxygen demand (COD), biological oxygen demand (BOD), Fe, N, NH4+, and some other chemicals.
The institute launched the investigation upon requests from the department and the central environmental police, which had received many complaints from local residents about the pollution.
As previously reported, on August 3, 2011 a team from the Ministry of Public Security’s Anti-Environmental Crime Prevention and Control Department caught the plant releasing about 9,300 cubic meters of black, stinking wastewater into the canal, which is the main water supply for about 500 hectares of farmland in the district’s Tam An commune.
The police found a sewerage system buried underground serving to unload the waste from the plant into the canal.
113 hectares affected
In its report, the institute said about 113 hectares of the 682.8 hectares of the canal’s basin have been contaminated by the waste.
Ba Cheo canal, into which Sonadezi has discharged a large volume of poorly-treated wastewater, turns black and gives out stinking ordor (Photo: Tuoi Tre)
A map of the polluted areas has been set up to form a basis for concerned agencies to assess how much damage the wastewater has caused, the Institute said.
The investigation results show that the pollution has caused 100 percent damage to the natural fishing output in the canal area.
Since 2008, 100 percent of fruit trees above 5 years old in the areas surrounding the canal have been damaged.
As for trees planted after 2008, the institute said it needs to carry out further investigations to determine the damage.
Along with other factors like poor breeding and epidemics, the pollution contributed to the damage to 62.9 percent of ducks and 76 percent of chicken in the area from 2008 to August 2011.
Based on the investigation results, the institute has proposed that the provincial authorities set up a steering board for determining the number of households that have suffered from the environmental pollution and assessing the total value of damage from pollution, to form a basis for compensation that Sonadezi must pay to them.
The period for calculation of damage is from 2008 to August 2011, the institute said.
As for damage to crops and poultry, Sonadezi should negotiate with those who have been affected to reach an agreement on the damages, since the damage has been caused by other factors besides the pollution caused by the company, the institute suggested.
Talking with Tuoi Tre, Vo Van Chanh, deputy director of the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said the agency will work with the institute to resolve the pollution problems soon.