Tue, Mar 15, 2016 - Page 4 News List

Discovery of untreated slag leads to suspension

NEW SYSTEM:A DPP legislator said that officials are needed at factory, local government and central government levels to improve waste management

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

The use of slag in building materials is to be suspended for three months after untreated slag was found in adulterated concrete at the Taipei New Horizon complex, with the management of the substance taking center stage at a Legislative Yuan Education and Culture Committee meeting yesterday.

The structural integrity of slag-laced concrete, pollution caused by illicit dumping of slag and problems of recognizing the material as a product were major discussion topics at a question-and-answer session at the meeting.

The management of slag has become an issue of public concern since swellings and peelings were found on the complex’s exterior walls, which are made using concrete mixed with slag, while the supplier of the concrete, Asia Cement Corp, said its Ya-tung Ready-Mixed Concrete factory was given adulterated materials by its raw-materials supplier.

NATIONWIDE ISSUE?

The debate has raised concerns over the possibility of materials used in buildings nationwide containing slag.

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) and Industrial Development Bureau, the two major authorities of slag and industrial waste management, have a total of less than 10 employees and a limited budget to monitor the reprocessing and reusing of slag, with EPA Minister Wei Kuo-yen (魏國彥) to describe the two authorities as “toothless and weaponless.”

Industrial Development Bureau Director-General Wu Ming-ji (吳明機) said that while it is legal to make blended cement with slag, the bureau decided to suspend the practice for three months due to concerns over the safety of slag cement.

During the three-month suspension period, the bureau is to try to establish a traceability system of furnace slag and streamline the flow of the material, as well as standardizing the stabilization procedure of slag, Wu said.

The Construction and Planning Agency said it suggested banning the use of slag in all building materials.

“The suspension must extend to all types of electric arc furnace slag, be it oxidizing slag or reducing slag, because there is hardly any management at all, and improper treatment and illegal use of slag has become rampant due to poor management,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬) said.

THREE-LEVEL SYSTEM

DPP Legislator Wu Kun-yuh (吳焜裕) asked government units to establish a three-level waste management system consisting of factory-level, local government-level and central government-level officials to improve the existing system.

DPP Legislator Chen Man-li (陳曼麗) raised concerns over regulations that allow treated slag to be recognized as a product instead of waste, thereby opening a loophole for reprocessors to deal with slag not in accordance with the Waste Disposal Act (廢棄物清理法), leading to repeated illegal dumping.

Chen called on the government to classify slag solely as industrial waste so it can be treated under stricter regulations and a single authority.

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