Company near alien-colored detention basin fined $16,000 for discharging untreated wastewater

By Truong Ha   April 3, 2021 | 05:00 am PT
Company near alien-colored detention basin fined $16,000 for discharging untreated wastewater
Water of a detention basin in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province has changed into an alien pink-purple hue, March 31, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Manh Nguyen.
A fish powder company in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province has been fined VND372 million ($16,160) for polluting a nearby detention basin, the water of which has turned a pungent pink-purple.

Nghe Huynh, next to the alien-color detention basin, has also been suspended for 4.5 months as decided by Ba Ria-Vung Tau People's Committee on Thursday.

Residents of Tan Hai Commune in the southern province 10 days prior discovered the detention basin had started releasing an unpleasant smell while the water had turned murky. By Thursday, the water had taken on a pink-purple color, with the pungent smell becoming unbearable.

Late last month, the firm was discovered by provincial authorities to have installed its own sewage pipes to discharge untreated wastewater into the basin. A water quality test for the wastewater revealed its pollutant levels exceeded environmental standards by over 10 times.

Whether the basin's water color change was the result of the discharged wastewater from Nghe Huynh has yet to be confirmed, though the firm has been forced to separate its sewage and rainwater systems, as well as collect and treat its wastewater, among other requirements.

The cause of the basin's water color change is under investigation.

The detention basin, located near several seafood processing factories, is supposed to collect treated wastewater from these facilities, and act to regulate flooding during the rainy season. When the floodgates are opened, the water would typically flow toward the Rach Van and Cha Va rivers before reaching the sea, where hundreds of families are involved in aquaculture.

This was not the first time the basin’s water had changed color. A similar incident occurred in 2017, when authorities discovered algae blooming, triggered by pollution.

In 2015, the province had spent billions of dong (VND1 billion = $43,500) to renovate the basin and moved some seafood processing factories away from the area after discovering wastewater from 14 facilities was discharged directly into the Cha Va River, killing tons of fish.

A detention basin near several seafood processing companies in Ba Ria-Vung Tau turns pink-purple. Video by VnExpress/Manh Nguyen.

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