Vietnam confirms wastewater from Taiwanese fish killer meets environmental standards

By Toan Dao   November 10, 2016 | 11:00 am PT
Vietnam confirms wastewater from Taiwanese fish killer meets environmental standards
Part of a wastewater treatment system in Formosa Ha Tinh Steel. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Hung
The environment ministry has set up two stations to monitor wastewater discharged from Formosa Ha Tinh's plant.

The Vietnamese government on Thursday said wastewater from Formosa Ha Tinh Steel, the culprit behind the mass fish kill along Vietnam's central coast last April, now meets environmental standards.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has set up two automatic monitoring stations near the Vietnamese unit of Taiwanese conglomerate Formosa Plastics Group in Ha Tinh Province. Samples taken at each station three times a day indicate that wastewater discharged to the sea from the plant has met government standards since July 27.

Formosa has so far finished building nine separate wastewater treatment systems. They have also run three other stations for treatment of domestic, biochemical and industrial wastewater before releasing it to the sea.

Previously, the Taiwanese company processed wastewater from various sources through a single station before discharging to the sea.

From late September, Formosa has added six indicators to its automatic monitoring system. Data from the system is transferred directly to Ha Tinh Department of Natural Resources and Environment and the General Department of Environment.

The environment ministry said in July it had detected 53 violations in design, construction and operation committed by Formosa. The most serious of them all was the illegal adoption of the coke wet quenching technology, which is cheaper and dirtier than the initially planned coke dry quenching method.

Formosa will start replacing the wet technology with the dry one on March 31 next year. The process is expected to be completed by June 30, 2019. While the installation is under way, the company promises to set up a treatment station to clean coke before processing, the Vietnamese ministry said.

In early April, wastewater from the plant killed tons of fish along some 200 kilometers of Vietnam’s central coastline.

About 41,000 fishermen and over 176,000 people dependent on the industry in Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien - Hue have been affected by the disaster, the government said in a report in July.

Formosa Ha Tinh Steel made a public apology and fulfilled its compensation commitment after transferring $500 million to the Vietnamese government in August.

Related news:

Compensation starts to reach fishermen after Formosa's toxic spill

Formosa's fish kill robs Vietnam’s tourism of millions of dollars: officials

Provincial court rejects lawsuits filed against Taiwanese fish killer Formosa

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