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Hydrochloric acid leak at closed Chemours plant causes mass fish deaths

01/21/2024 06:18 PM
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Agents from Taoyuan's Department of Environmental Protection investigate hydrochloric acid leak from the shuttered Chemours chemical plant in the city's Guanyin District in this undated photo. Photo courtesy of Taoyuan Department of Environmental Protection
Agents from Taoyuan's Department of Environmental Protection investigate hydrochloric acid leak from the shuttered Chemours chemical plant in the city's Guanyin District in this undated photo. Photo courtesy of Taoyuan Department of Environmental Protection

Taoyuan, Jan. 21 (CNA) The Taoyuan City government said Sunday it will issue a fine after a hydrochloric acid leak at the shuttered Chemours chemical plant in the city's Guanyin District caused mass fish deaths in a public estuary.

The city's Department of Environmental Protection said in a statement that the case was first brought to light on Friday when residents around Guanyin District reported large amounts of dead fish by the estuary at one end of the district's Da-Kue River.

After conducting a field investigation, the environmental department said it realized the fish were killed by hydrochloric acid that had leaked from a cracked pipe at the closed Chemours plant.

The failure of those responsible for managing the facility to report or deal with the leak within three hours constituted a violation of the Water Pollution Control Act, which carries a maximum fine of NT$6 million (US$191,000), the department said.

The department added that it has tasked Chemours with patching up all the leaks within the district and cleaning up the dead fish.

Agents from Taoyuan's Department of Water Resources clean up large amounts of dead fish by the estuary at one end of the Da-Kue River. Photo courtesy of Taoyuan Department of Environmental Protection
Agents from Taoyuan's Department of Water Resources clean up large amounts of dead fish by the estuary at one end of the Da-Kue River. Photo courtesy of Taoyuan Department of Environmental Protection

Meanwhile, Taoyuan's Department of Water Resources said it would be charging Chemours for the clean-up of an estimated 10,000 dead fish dredged from the estuary by city workers.

Chemours, an American chemical company, closed its titanium dioxide plant in Guanyin District on Aug. 1, 2023, resulting in the loss of 259 jobs.

In October last year, the city government ordered work on dismantling the plant to be suspended after two subcontractors died while tearing down an industrial furnace.

(By Yeh Chen and James Lo)

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