NEWS RELEASE                                                                                                                JUNE 2013

Huge Site Remediation Needs in Asia

There is extensive contamination of water and soil throughout Asia. Remediation efforts are underway. However, in some countries the rate of new contamination is still exceeding the remediation efforts. This is the conclusion reached by the McIlvaine Company in Site Remediation and Emergency Response Newsletter.

China is one country which is at least pursuing a clean-up effort.  The Ministry of Environmental Protection has outlined a plan for China to cut heavy metal pollution in key areas 15 percent by 2015. The plan identifies fourteen provinces and regions as major monitoring targets, along with 4,452 companies including mines, smelters and battery manufacturers.  Local officials have been made accountable for the reduction targets.

With a shortage of land for development in China’s cities, there is an urgent need to clean up brownfields sites remediation.  Contaminated brownfields are impeding urban development.  Large industrial enterprises are being moved outside of cities leaving behind highly polluted sites.  Examples of the relocation of industrial enterprises from major Chinese cities include:

  1. Beijing.       Some two hundred polluting enterprises inside the Fourth Ring Road have      been relocated, leaving eight million square meters of industrial land      that can be cleaned up and redeveloped.  The high returns from the      sale of land in Beijing cover any outlays for soil remediation.
  2. Chongqing.      More than one hundred polluting enterprises were set to be relocated from      the city center. Approximately $2 billion is needed to remediate their      contaminated sites.  Contaminated groundwater is a major problem,      along with several million cubic meters of contaminated soil.       Chongqing today is seeking financing, cost-effective remediation      technologies and appropriate remediation standards.
  3. Guangzhou.       Nearly 150 large industrial enterprises have been shut down,      suspended or relocated since 2007. 
  4. Shanghai.      Several dozen old industrial enterprises have been relocated from downtown      areas.
  5. Shenyang.      Several dozen polluting enterprises were relocated in 2008.       Beginning in 2009, all heavily polluting enterprises in the city center      will be relocated.
  6. Cities in Jiangsu Province.  More than one hundred chemical enterprises have      been relocated, and many small chemical companies have been closed.
  7. Cities in Zhejiang Province.  Several dozen large industrial enterprises have      been relocated or closed since 2005.

The most commonly used remediation approach is excavation followed by ex-situ treatment, such as disposal of contaminated soil in a landfill or incineration in a cement kiln.  In-situ remediation technologies are being developed.

Vietnam has the additional challenge of cleaning up the contamination from decades long warfare. During the Vietnam War (1962-71), the U.S. military dumped an estimated 75 million liters of Agent Orange and other herbicides on approximately one quarter of the territory of former South Vietnam. Agent Orange was discovered to be contaminated with 2, 3, 7, 8-tetrachlorodibenzodioxin, an extremely toxic dioxin compound. The Da Nang Airport is a dioxin hotspot because of the highly contaminated soil and sediment discovered there. Tetra Tech of Pasadena, California is carrying out a contract from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to remediate the Da Nang Airport site at a cost of $84 million, using in-pile thermal desorption (IPTD) technology.  IPTD has been found to be the most effective method to date to destroy dioxin.  Tetra Tech’s work includes construction of the IPTD treatment structure and excavation, transport and placement within the structure of dioxin-contaminated sediment and soil.

Pakistan is one of a number of Asian countries which is not curbing its soil and water contamination. One study notes that of 6,634 registered industries, 1,228 are considered highly polluting. Manufacturers of textiles, leather, food, ceramics, steel, oil refineries and oils, pharmaceuticals and chemicals industries in Lahore, Faisalabad, Sialkot, Multan, Hyderabad and Rawalpindi are contributing to soil and water contamination. North Korea is the worst offender in the region.

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