After finishing the first ever pollution investigation of 30 operational units at the nation’s airports, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday said that soil or groundwater at seven of the 11 airports had been contaminated.
The investigation showed that the level of tetrachloroethylene in the groundwater below Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Services (TIAS) workshops at Taoyuan International Airport was found to be 102 times the legally permitted level.
Soil pollution was discovered at Taipei Song Shan Airport’s jet fuel center, and at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport’s China Airline and EVA Airways incineration facilities. Groundwater pollution was found at Taipei Song Shan Airport’s jet fuel center, Far Eastern airlines, China Airlines and TIAS.
The pollution could have been caused by jet fuel spilled when refueling or leaks from underground pipes, the EPA said.
Tsai Hung-teh (蔡鴻德), executive secretary of the EPA’s soil and groundwater remediation fund management board, said “tetrachloroethylene is a carcinogen, so if the amount exceeded safety standards, it would pose a health risk.”
EPA toxic chemical substance data indicates that tetrachloroethylene does not hydrolyze in water and soil, decomposes very slowly in surface soil and in gaseous form can cause liver and kidney damage, anesthesia, headache, nausea, short-term central nervous system damage, while long-term exposure can lead to cancer.
The EPA has asked local environmental protection agencies to supervise the companies efforts to clean up the polluted sites.