The waste water pipe of Formosa's steel mill in Ha Tinh. (Photo: Nguyen Dung/Thanh Nien)
Vietnamese ministries have discovered 53 violations of Vietnamese regulations at Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corp (FHS), the operator of a $10.6 billion steel complex in that discharged toxins causing massive fish deaths in Vietnam’s central coast in early April.
The violations are mainly related to the design, operation and construction of the steel mill, said Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha at a meeting of the Standing Committee of the National Assembly on Monday morning.
Minister Ha, however, did not specify the timeframe of the inspection.
The most serious violation was that FHS changed the coke dry quenching technology, which was supposed to be applied for the plant, for the coke wet quenching one, which releases toxic chemicals, Ha noted.
If the plant is properly operated and closely monitored, its waste water will be able to meet all requirements before being discharged into the sea, the minister added.
Ha revealed that all the six contractors that transferred technologies, installed equipment and operated the waste water treatment system of the steel mill were Chinese.
Early April, tons of fish and marine species washed up along 200 kilometers of beach in four Vietnamese central provinces. After a sophisticated checkup joined by foreign and domestic experts, the Vietnamese government found that FHS’ untreated waste water caused the great fish kill. FHS then made a public apology and pledged to pay $500 million in compensation for the damages.
Local media has cited Ha Tinh’s tax authorities as saying that they could retrieve an additional 1.56 trillion dong ($69 million) in taxes from FHS.