Venlo city council has partly closed down a tank cleaning firm in the wake of an NRC report which said the firm had dumped dangerous chemicals into the Maas river and exposed staff to cancer-causing benzene.
The public prosecution department is also looking into operations at Claessen Tankcleaning, the NRC said on Thursday afternoon.
Council officials made an unannounced visit to the company following the publication of the NRC’s report and found that lorries were not being cleaned in accordance with the terms of the licence. Measures to stop the benzene entering the environment had also not been implemented properly.
The company has now been told it cannot use the chemical until it has met all the terms of its permit and faces a fine of up to €100,000 if it continues to do so.
The NRC said last week that dozens of litres of benzene were dumped in the Maas every week by the company and that workers did not have proper protective gear.
And despite at least “10 serious accidents” on site in the past five years, “council officials, labour inspectors and the police environmental crime team had failed to act”, the paper said.
The company has declined to comment on the council’s actions but told clients in a letter that the NRC’s reporting was “suggestive”, the paper said.
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