The European Union money used for contamination of a protected landscape area by fly ash

1.11.2005 - Liberec

A mixture of toxic fly ash with slag from the Liberec waste incinerator, which was sold by the Termizo company, without authorisation, for construction purposes for more than a year, contaminated the environment in the Protected Landscape Area Jizerské hory (Jizera Mountains). Arnika found this, at the instance of local citizens, when it took samples from a bicycle path which had been constructed by the Strabag company in Oldřichov v Hájích municipality, with support from the European Union Funds, for 1.121 million CZK.

„At first sight, the path looked like any other one. However, after more thorough inspection, it turned out that a mixture of fly ash and slag, sold by the Liberec incinerator, was used in the embankment in the layer 10 centimetres below surface. We took samples and ordered their analysis for the contents of dioxins and further substances in the accredited laboratory Axys Varilab in Skochovice,“ stated head of the Arnika's campaign Toxics Free Future, Jindřich Petrlík, MS.

Results of the analyses (1) confirmed that the fear of the local citizens was right: „The tests showed that the path going through a protected landscape area contains, approximately, the same amount of dioxins as contaminated sediments in the vicinity of the Spolana company,“ Petrlík said.

The tests proved that a whole spectrum of persistent organic pollutants: dioxins (PCDD/F), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), hexachlorobenzene (HCB), and polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDE), was present in the samples. All these substances persist in the environment for a long time, and cause negative effects on health of people and animals. The fact that the Strabag company used the mixture, sold by the Termizo company under designation SPRUK, for the construction of the path was confirmed also by the Czech Environmental Inspection Agency in response to Arnika's impulse. The bicycle path was constructed this summer. For a part of this time, the municipal waste incinerator Termizo Liberec did not possess a valid certificate authorising it to sell the mixture of slag and fly ash as a material for construction purposes. This follows, apart from other things, from the statement obtained from the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

„We consider really alarming that a construction company dares to bring toxic fly ash into forests in a protected landscape area. We do not care whether they have a certificate authorising them to do it, or not. The fact is that dioxins are present there. It is not important whether it is legal. This concerns our health,“ commented on the situation Květa Zíková from Oldřichov v Hájích.

Jindřich Petrlík remarked that the path in Jizera mountains probably is not the only locality where the toxic mixture ended. The Strabag company still stores SPRUK on a site near the exit from Mníšek municipality in direction to Frýdlant city, in vicinity of a brook. Moreover, the mixture was purchased by a number of other companies: Čefos Větrov (as a sub-base material for an access road to a planned landfill), ASANO Český Dub (for reclamation of landfill in Český Dub), Ingeo, limited liability company (as a material for technical securing of a landfill in Košťálov), Gesta, joint-stock company, Rynoltice (for technical filling in plants operated by the company - landfills and solidification plants), BEC odpady, and SSŽ Liberec (for filling). Arnika found the mixture on a heap in front of entrance to landfill Čefos Větrov.

(1) Results of analyses of the samples

Place of samplingDioxins (PCDD/Fs) in pg WHO-TEQ/g Dioxins (PCDD/Fs) in pg I-TEQ/g Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in pg WHO-TEQ/g Total TEQ in pg WHO-TEQ/gHexachloro-benzene (HCB) in ng/gPolybrominated diphenylethers in ng/g
Oldřichov v Hájích 66.0 57.6 1.6 67.6 0.53 0.714 (2.715)
Větrov 134.2 122.0 8.6 142.8 2.1 5.849 (6.849)
  • Arnika: Toxics and Waste Programme

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