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Formosa Plastics says pollution under control at Kaohsiung plant

2010/03/22 21:59:39

Taipei, March 22 (CNA) The Formosa Plastics Group, Taiwan'sleading petrochemical conglomerate, said Monday that it has takenmeasures to control pollution found in groundwater at its Jenwu plantsite in Kaohsiung County and stressed that the contamination had notspread.

Tests conducted by the Environmental Protection Administration(EPA) late last year found that the soil and groundwater underneaththe southern Taiwan plant -- which produces vinyl-chloride monomersand HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons) -- were contaminated.

After the Kaohsiung County government asked Formosa Plastics totake corrective measures by mid-January, EPA tests conducted inFebruary found pollutants on the plant site to be within acceptablelevels.

The company explained that the groundwater pollution found in theEPA tests was mostly due to earthquakes that had caused wastewater toleak through cracks in its cement wastewater collection facilities.

It said the Jenwu plant was built in 1973 when there was a lackof adequate facilities and no proper regulations or orders to follow.

But since the plant began to use steel wastewater collectiontanks four years ago and after bringing on line a new NT$250 millionwastewater treatment facility, groundwater pollution has beenprevented, the company said.

In addition, Formosa Plastics invested NT$160 million ongroundwater circulation wells that become operational last December,and they have also prevented the spread of pollution.

Local newspaper the Liberty Times reported Sunday thatunderground water near the Jenwu plant contained pollutants inconcentrations 300,000 times higher than permissable levels lastyear.

Monday's news sent the share prices of related issues down onMonday. Plastics and chemical shares dropped by 1 percent, the mostof any category.

Formosa Plastics shares lost NT$0.8, or 1.13 percent, to close atNT$70.2. The broader benchmark Taiex declined 0.78 percent.

Meanwhile, Jenwu Township Chief Shen Yin-chan said that he isasking Formosa Plastics to move the Jenwu facility or people in thetownship will hold large-scale protests.

(By Chen Shou-gow, Chao Hsiao-hui and Fanny Liu)