The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday said that 16 factories operating with chlorinated solvents have caused pollution to the soil and groundwater that exceed regulation standards, with one case recording a level that was 10,480 times the legal limit.
Pollution evaluations were conducted at 84 factories nationwide, including the investigation of soil and groundwater at 26 high-probability polluting factories, from last year to this year, the EPA said.
The result showed that pollutants found in the soil or groundwater at one factory in New Taipei City (新北市), six factories in Taoyuan County, one factory in Greater Taichung, three factories in Changhua County, two factories in Greater Tainan and three factories in Greater Kaohsiung, exceeded legal standard limits.
The EPA’s Soil and Groundwater Remediation Fund -Management Board said that where the regulated standard for a single pollutant is exceeded by a factor of 20 or more, the area is listed as a pollution remediation site. Seven factories from the inspection were listed.
The worst case of pollution among the 16 factories investigated was the density of dichloromethane (methylene dichloride) — an organic compound classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a Group 2B carcinogen — found in the ground-water at a pharmaceutical factory in Taoyuan County, which was 10,480 times the standard limit.
The EPA said it had already asked local environmental protection bureaus to take the necessary measures to ensure the pollution does not spread, publicly declared the factories to be polluted sites and also investigated nearby wells to determine the level of contamination.
The groundwater tested from a well near a metalwork factory in Changhua County was found to exceed standard limits and is now listed as a groundwater pollution control area, the EPA said.
However, tests conducted on nearby farmland indicated that it had not been polluted by the chemicals in the groundwater.
Pollution evaluations have been conducted at a total of 166 factories and the agency plans to complete nationwide investigations of 440 factories with a high probability of polluting before the end of 2016, the EPA said.