Plant owner to face legal action over chemical leak in Chachoengsao

Plant owner to face legal action over chemical leak in Chachoengsao

The owner of an abandoned industrial waste plant in Chachoengsao province will face legal action after the Department of Pollution Control found a chemical leak at the site which could affect residents' health.

Atthapol Charoenshunsa, director-general of the Department of Pollution Control, yesterday said it is pursuing legal action after staff on Thursday inspected the abandoned plant in the province's Bang Pakong district following complaints of a leak.

The department found 11 gigantic tanks filled with unknown liquid waste, two of which were damaged, leaking black liquid with a strong smell.

The plant is reportedly owned by an industrial waste recycling company.

The tambon Tha Kham municipality repaired the damaged tanks and used sandbags to prevent the waste from leaking out of the building.

The department also found the factory's gutter is connected to the Phan Thong canal.

The liquid found in the gutter is consistent with the foul-smelling one at the plant.

The liquid waste at the plant is high in acidity and salt.

Water from the Phan Thong canal is still normal, the department found.

Water samples from the gutter and the canal were collected to test for chemical contamination, Mr Atthapol said.

The director-general said his department will take legal action against the owner of the plant for causing the leakage.

The department also plans to see if the black liquid found in the abandoned plant is classified as hazardous waste.

If it is, the owner or person responsible can face a charge of possessing hazardous material without permission.

Mr Atthapol said the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Varawut Silpa-archa, and Jatuporn Buruspat, the ministry's permanent secretary, instructed its units to inspect all properties storing waste or chemicals.

The law should be enforced to stop leaks having a negative impact on people and the environment, he said.

Last year, Tha Kham mayor Somjit Phansuwa, state officials and locals inspected the plant following reports of nose and throat irritations among more than 2,000 people in Tha Kham and the plant's surrounding areas.

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