Vietnamese woman discovers diesel in household water well

By Duc Hung   April 10, 2018 | 11:11 pm PT
Vietnamese woman discovers diesel in household water well
The water from a water well in Ha Tinh Province is tainted with diesel. Photo by VnExpress
Locals suspect a nearby gypsum mine is to blame after diesel from its tanks leaked into the environment last year.

Test results on water pulled from a household well along Vietnam's north central coast have revealed traces of diesel, said an official on Tuesday.

Do Khoa Van, director of the Department of Science and Technology in Ha Tinh Province, said it appeared that oil had seeped into the well through groundwater.

Last week, local Thai Thi Hien, 39, detected the foul smell of petroleum coming from her family’s well, and when she tried to light the liquid, it burst into flames.

She said her family has been using the well for 12 years, and "I’ve never seen anything like this."

Hien is not the only one in the area who is suffering from the problem. Six other households in the neighborhood have also reported the smell of diesel coming from their wells. Some also suspect that a gypsum mine in the area is to blame.

“Last year, diesel leaked from tanks at the gypsum mine, killing crops in the area,” said Hiep, a local.

Van the science official said the locals’ claims were not unfounded because there is no other source of oil in the surrounding area except the mine.

“When we questioned representatives from the firm, they denied it had caused the problem, but upon inspection, authorities found cracks in some of the oil tanks at the mine,” he said.

Investigations are ongoing.

Cases of mining activities polluting the environment in Vietnam are nothing new. Last month, a tailings pond at a gold mine in central Vietnam breached its banks, releasing pollutants into a nearby river that contaminated the water and killed dozens of fish, sparking protests from locals. The firm has since sealed the breach with sand bags.

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