THE RISKS RESULTING FROM SOME SIXTY YEARS OF ACTIVITY OF THE FORMER PLANT REQUIRE AN ACTION TO BE TAKEN TO PREVENT ENVIROMENTAL AND HEALTH DAMAGE.
Albanian NGOs proposed four steps that need to be taken with high priority in order to prevent the environment and health of the people of Rubik from being endangered by hazardous waste disposed in the area of the former copper plant:
- As a short-term means of preventing groundwater contamination, the residue has to be covered with lime or limestone.
- Potential risks to human health in the area have to be clarified. Private well water quality downstream of the factory has to be investigated.
- Monitoring wells between the factory and the river have to be established. River waters and private well water have to be monitored.
- Contamination potential has to be eliminated altogether. The residue has to be moved back into the mine.
Decontamination of the processing area of the plant has to include these steps:
- Abandoned buildings have to be demolishe.
- The area of the plant has to be cleaned-up, covered with top soil, cultivated and prevented from being flooded.
- Hazardous material must be prevented from emitting to the environment.
- All contaminated masses and materials have to be deposited in a disposal facility constructed as a landfill for hazardous waste according to EU directives.
It has been decided that the waste will be deposited in the existing dumpsite on the eastern side of the river. However, this site is not in condition that would provide safe disposal. First, the existing landfill has to be cleaned. Base, drainage and capping layers need to be constructed in accordance with the EU directive for landfills as well as an open concrete channel for the diversion of rainwater. Also the dam protecting the dumpsite from floods has to be repaired and extended according to EU standards. There is a water supply pipe still in use crossing the confined disposal facility area. To prevent contamination of the water and to allow future repairs, it needs to be reinstalled to lead along the railway bank. All area has to be protected against erosion by vegetation.
Disposed masses with high leachability (about 10% of the total amount of contaminated masses and material) have to be stabilised by various treatment methods.
After the construction of the landfill is finished and after the waste is disposed there, the security of the area will need to be monitored on a regular basis.