Hungary’s toxic reservoir may collapse
Hungarian town evacuated as cracks appear on reservoir walls
“Last night the interior minister informed us that cracks have appeared in the northern wall of the reservoir, whose corner collapsed, which make it likely that the entire wall will collapse,” Hungary’s PM Viktor Orban said.
An aerial view shows houses affected by a toxic red sludge spill from a Hungarian alumina plant, in Devecser, near Ajka, 100 miles (160 kilometres) southwest of Budapest October 7, 2010. Source: Greenpeace via Reuters
Up to a dozen people have been killed and scores more injured after one million cubic meters of toxic waste sludge escaped from Hungary’s MAL Zrt alumina plant reservoir inundating seven villages, local waterways and six rivers earlier this week.
The damaged reservoir near Hungary’s MAL Zrt alumina plant is seen from the air in Kolontar, 150 km (93.2 miles) west of Budapest, October 9, 2010.
Credit: REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh,. Image may be subject to copyright.
Up to half a million cubic meters of even deadlier sludge could now escape from the reservoir as a wall in the dam appears to be collapsing, Mr Orban said.
“The detached parts of the dam are growing apart, the distance between them widened by 7 cm from late last night until this morning … so it is very likely that we have to reckon on this wall collapsing.”
Some 715 people have been evacuated from the village of Kolontar, the worst affected area from the first wave of the spill on Monday.
Disaster teams are on stand by to evacuate the town of Devecser (population of 6,000), if necessary, Reuters quoted Hungary’s national news agency (MTI) as saying.
An aerial view shows a toxic red sludge spill from a Hungarian alumina plant, near Ajka, 100 miles (160 kilometres) southwest of Budapest October 7, 2010. Source: Greenpeace via Reuters