Chemical plant under fire over polluted river, officials call for change

The Chemours plant in Dordrecht. Photo:

Infrastructure ministry and water board officials say a Dordrecht chemical plant should stop pumping a potentially carcinogenic chemical into the river Merwede because of the risk to drinking water, the AD said on Friday.

Local water board Oasen, which supplies drinking water to 750,000 people, says the pollution poses a ‘significant’ risk, the paper said. It bases its claims on confidential letters between officials and the factory.

The Chemours plant permit is currently being amended to stop it pumping 6,400 kilos of waste water containing GenX into the river. Officials want an initial reduction to 2,000 kilos and then a stop altogether, the paper said.

The company, which used to be part of the Dupont chemicals group, is prepared to half the volume but says the province does not have the right to make further demands.

The public health institute RIVM is currently carrying out research into the impact of GenX which some toxicologists say is a danger to health. The chemical has been located in drinking water in various parts of Zuid-Holland, the paper said.

The public prosecution department is carrying out a parallel investigation.

GenX is used in the production of teflon, and replaces another chemical, known as C8, which is a carcinogen.