Red Sludge Pollution Alert in Hungary

Added by on October 5, 2010

Hungarian authorities have announced an alert today, after Monday’s burst of a reservoir containing red sludge from an alumina plant located in the west area of the country.

The Hungarian National Disaster Management Directorate stated that the red sludge coming from the alumina plant reservoir contains waste from aluminum production, containing dangerous heavy metals. Thus pollution alert was declared and the disaster directorate also said that the sludge is extremely toxic if ingested.

The burst flooded with red sludge several towns, causing the death of two people and injuring dozens of citizens. Hungarian rescue services stated after the burst that seven people went missing.

The red sludge spill is estimated to amount approximately 700,000 cubic meters and it flooded several localities among which Devecser and Kolontar, that are only 160 kilometers away from the country’s capital Budapest.

In Devecser, the rushing red sludge reached up to two meters in height and flooded about 400 homes. Nearly 40 people needed assistance in the near-by town Somlovasarhely.  Approximately 120 people suffered from burns on their eyes and skin because of the caustic red sludge.

Rescue efforts were sent to help temporarily relocate about 390 residents.

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