Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hungary toxic sludge reaches Danube branch

Mark Tran and agencies in the Guardian (UK): A toxic red mud spill that killed four people in western Hungary has reached the Mosoni-Danube, a southern branch of the Danube, Hungarian disaster officials said today. Tibor Dobson of Hungary's national disaster unit told Reuters the spill reached the branch of Europe's second-longest river near Hungary's border with Slovakia and Austria this morning.

But Dobson said the highly caustic slurry has been reduced to the point where it is unlikely to cause further damage to the environment. The pH level of the sludge, originally above 12, is now under 10, he said. However, a harmless level is between 6 and 8.

There are fears that the toxic torrent will cause serious ecological damage to the Danube after being carried downstream by tributaries. The sludge is expected to reach the river by the weekend or early next week....

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