Additional damage to reservoir prompts evacuation of Kolontar, Hungary

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Kolontar, Hungary is currently being evacuated as new damage was discovered at the burst reservoir that spilled hazardous sludge on Monday 04 October 2010 in Western Hungary. If the embankment dam of the storage pond that already released about 700,000 cubic meters of highly alkaline (pH ~13) red sludge into the area would entirely collapse, an extra volume of 500,000 cubic meters of red mud could be released.

A second spill containing more sediments from the bottom of the reservoir would be heavier and thicker than the first one, and would move less rapidly. The flash flood of Monday already killed seven people, chemically burnt 150 others, and left the land and the surface water devastated by the sodium hydroxide and the iron oxides bearing also traces of heavy metals. According to Reuters the prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, arrived in the village Saturday morning.

It is also being reported that the newly discovered damage is minor; however, disaster crews do not want to take any chances and are evacuating the village's 800 inhabitants as a precaution. The evacuees are being taken to a sports hall and two high schools, which are eight kilometers away from the reservoir in a town called Ajka.