VietNamNet Bridge – Holcim Vietnam, a Swiss cement manufacturer, will treat 7,000 liters of oil containing PCBs taken from the Cai Lan Port in Ha Long City to the company’s plant in Kien Giang province.


The 34 barrels were taken to the southern province on two trucks on October 7. Two import containers of transformers and machine parts that had been affected by PCBs remained at Cai Lan Port.

PCB is a very hazardous chemical, second to dioxin.

Ha Long residents were relieved after a solution had been found for the problem that had existed for seven years.

In 2007, Cuu Long Vinashin Investment JSC, now known as Cuu Long Investment JSC, imported a consignment of used transformers from South Korea. It planned to use them for the Song Hong Thermopower Plant project in Nam Dinh City.

However, the consignment of goods was not cleared because the customs agency discovered PCBs in the imported equipment.

In Ha Long, the toxic oil contained in the transformers was exposed to the sun and rain  over the last seven years.

In 2008, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MONRE), after strong opposition from the public about the containers, issued many decisions requesting the importer to treat the oil.

However, nothing was done and people lived in fear that the oil would drift into Ha Long Bay and harm the world heritage site.

Nguyen Danh Son, head of the inspection division of the Cai Lan Port Customs Agency, said the oil had begun to leak from the transformers.

“The leaking became serious and we could see oil slicks on the bricks (on the ground). We asked the goods owner to settle the problem,” Son said.

After many arguments, Holcim, which has a plant in Kien Giang province, was asked to treat the oil. This is the only unit in Vietnam capable of treating PCB.

Nguyen Huu Cuong, the worker in charge of dealing with the oil, said Holcim would burn the oil in the plant’s reverter furnace.

When asked about the possibility that toxic gas may be discharged during the burning, Cuong said the treatment would not cause any problems.

He tried to reassure the public that Holcim has a system which controls emissions and it is licensed to do this. There is also a monitoring system which controls the emissions level and provides necessary information so that workers can adjust operations if necessary.

Cuong said the oil would be burnt at a very high temperature that would fully disintegrate the toxic substance.

Dat Viet