Waste found on the coast of Hsinchu County’s Hsinfeng Township (新豐) has been confirmed as toxic slag from a steelmaker’s furnace with a dioxin concentration level of up to a 4,470 toxic equivalency, a Hsinchu County Environmental Protection Bureau official said yesterday.
In June, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬) and several environmentalists revealed that bags containing slag had been dumped on the coast near the township’s Fengbi Tunnel (鳳鼻隧道) for more than 20 years, with some flowing into the ocean.
The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) had promised to probe the pollution and investigate which company was accountable.
Photo: Liao Hsueh-ju, Taipei Times
The waste is spread over about 2km of coastline and measures about 35,629m3, including 1,380m3 of toxic waste and 4,268m3 of slag, as well as construction waste and household garbage, bureau Deputy Director-General Lo Shih-chen (羅仕臣) said, citing EPA data.
The bureau would submit a cleanup proposal to the EPA in coming days and expects to spend between NT$20 million and NT$30 million (US$662,581 and US$993,871) on removing the waste and building structures to protect the coastline, Lo said.
The waste was found to contain high concentrations of iron, zinc and lead.
The soil was not found to have been polluted as it had dioxin concentration levels within normal standards, Lo said.
The slag “has polluted our coastline in Hsinfeng for two or three decades,” former Fengkeng Village (鳳坑) warden Chiang Cheng-kun (姜政焜) said on Thursday, adding that the government should remove it as soon as possible.
As slag from an electric arc furnace contains high levels of heavy metals, EPA officials should prevent the slag from mixing with the soil or seawater when removing it, Chung Hwa University of Medical Technology associate professor Huang Huan-chang (黃煥彰) said.
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