The Cuu Long Investment Joint Stock Company has been instructed to deal with 6,900 litres polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) transformer oil it has stored in a warehouse at Cai Lan Port since late 2007.
The order was made by Dang Huy Hau, vice chairman of Quang Ninh’s People’s Committee after he inspected the site yesterday.
The provincial Natural Resources and Environment Department said that since November 2007, the Hai Phong-based company had imported three second-hand transformers from South Korea.
The transformers, which were manufactured before 1975, were imported for to build the Song Hong Thermal Power Plant, but the project has been delayed and the transformers have remained in the warehouse.
In July 2008, the provincial People’s Committee fined the company VND85 million (US$4,000) for violating environmental regulations after an inspection conducted by local authorities discovered that one of the transformers contained 6,900 litres of PCB transformer oil – a toxic contaminant.
The committee asked the company to return the transformers to its partner in South Korea.
However, the company said its partner had refused to take back the transformers.
In May 2014, the department worked with Cai Lan Port’s Customs Division to store the oil and ensure it did not leak into the environment, especially Ha Long Bay.
The company has failed to provide a solution for the problem thus far.
Explaining the situation, the provincial environment department said that only Holcim Viet Nam, a producer of cement and aggregates, could treat the toxic PCB oil, but the process was expensive.
The Cuu Long Investment Joint Stock Company could not afford to pay for it, the department said, and the best option now was to store the oil.
Vice chairman of the committee Dang Huy Hau instructed the company to make plans to deal with the toxic oil quickly and submit a report to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
Hau also asked Quang Ninh Port Co Ltd that manages Cai Lan Port to protect the containers of PCB transformer oil.