Mon, Jul 09, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Firms fined over industrial park fire

BREATHE EASY:Government officials said airborne levels of toxic chemicals were within recommended limits, but still fined the businesses for air and water pollution

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Following a fire that broke out at Taoyuan County’s Kuanying Industrial Park before dawn on Saturday, the Taoyuan County Government’s Environmental Protection Bureau yesterday said that initial testing on the concentration of toxic chemical substances in the air showed levels were within the appropriate limits, but added that wastewater had polluted a nearby river.

The fire broke out at 1:29am on Saturday near Datong 1st Rd in the industrial park and the flames spread across seven plants, including the Gearex Corp, the bureau said.

The bureau said that because the toxic chemical substances stored at Taiwan K.K. Corp and Lysurf Chemical Co were affected by the fire, it immediately initiated the emergency response mechanism and the Environmental Protection Administration also sent its toxic substance emergency response team.

Along with the response team, the bureau said it applied the Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy technique to obtain pollution data in the surrounding at-risk areas.

The probe found that the concentration of methyl alcohol was 68.5 parts per million (ppm), below the standard of 200ppm; while the concentration of ethyl acetate was 56ppm, below the standard of 400ppm, collected at 4:30am.

The concentration levels of methyl alcohol and ethyl acetate had dropped to 5.4ppm and 2.8ppm respectively when tested at 6:30am, the bureau said, adding that the toxic substance stored at Taiwan K.K. Corp — hydrazine — had become nitrogen oxides when burning, so hydrazine had not been detected.

The bureau said it will impose a fine between NT$100,000 (US$3,336) and NT$1 million on the Gearex Corp for air pollution caused by its fire accident, based on the Air Pollution Control Act (空氣污染防制法).

In addition, a fine between NT$30,000 to NT$300,000 will be given to Ener-Com Technology Co for violating the Water Pollution Control Act (水污染防治法) by polluting the nearby Fulin River, the bureau said.

The bureau added that if the situation does not improve before a designated date, the company can be ordered to suspend its work.

According to the bureau, about 5,000 barrels, each containing 190 liters of industrial waste organic solvent, were stored at the Ener-Com Technology Co, and so it was obliged to place booms and sandbags along the Fulin River as well as using two tanker trucks to extract the wastewater from fire trucks in order to prevent the water pollution from spreading farther.

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