Mysterious, foul-smelling water stains HCMC streets in crimson

By Dinh Van   October 23, 2022 | 07:57 pm PT
Mysterious, foul-smelling water stains HCMC streets in crimson
People look over a To Hieu Street section inundated by red water in HCMC, October 23, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Van
Several streets in HCMC's Tan Phu District were submerged in reddish, smelly water tinged with chemicals, affecting hundreds of families.

Alleys along Phan Anh and To Hieu streets were in knee-deep red water on Sunday, following an hour-long rain. There were oily stains and white foams on the surface, along with smells of chemicals. The water even flowed into certain homes.

Red water inundates a section of To Hieu Street in HCMC, October 23, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Quan

Tran Thi Huong, 56, who has been living on Phan Anh Street for over 30 years, said it was the first time she saw such a phenomenon. Some people who waded in the water reported itchiness on their legs, forcing them to wear boots, she said.

Huong said there are fabric dyeing workshops near the neighborhood that operate at night, so there might have been a leakage in their sewage system.

About 50 m away, Dieu Thuy, 35, had to close doors and windows and wear masks inside her own home as she could not stand the smell, which triggered her migraines. Her entire family did not dare to go out to avoid contact with the water.

By 7 p.m., the water has receded, but the red color remained stained on the streets.

Nguyen Minh Trung, chairman of the Tan Thoi Hoa Ward People's Committee, said there are no fabric dyeing workshops near Phan Anh and To Hieu streets. He said the polluted water probably came from somewhere else through the sewage system of the Hiep Tan Channel, and due to heavy rains, there was not enough time for the water to be drained. The ward is investigating the exact origin of the red water.

Tan Phu District is home to several printing, dyeing and mechanical factories. Locals have reported about them polluting the environment before, especially on Hoa Binh Street.

Late last year, the HCMC Department of Natural Resources and the Environment had done a surprise check on eight such facilities, and found violations in five of them.

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