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Thermal power plants queuing for permission to submerge materials in sea

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Coal-fired thermal power plants’ investors have asked for permission to submerge sludge and waste in the sea, raising big concerns about sea pollution. 

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Submerging sludge is the solution thermopower plants most want 


Chair of Quang Ngai province Tran Ngoc Cang on September 11 signed a dispatch to the Prime Minister, requesting to consider allowing Hoa Phat Dung Quat steel complex to submerge materials in the sea.

According to Hoa Phat Dung Quat Steel JSC, it will need to dredge the passage at the port and the volume of sludge to be collected would be 15.5 million cubic meters.

The investor is facing big difficulties when trying to bring the sludge ashore for temporary storage. It still cannot find partners which have demand for sludge. Meanwhile, it is also difficult to export sludge and sand to be collected from dredging as the Prime Minister has instructed to stop exporting sand of different kinds.

In such conditions, submerging sludge is the solution the investor most wants.

Such proposals to submerge sludge into the sea have been made in the last few years by thermal power plants, steel mills and passage dredging projects. 

EVN Genco 3, a subsidiary of the Electricity of Vietnam, is seeking permission to submerge 2.4 million cubic meters of sludge. Quang Trach 1 Therompower Plant wants to submerge 2.5 million cubic meters of sludge in Hon La sea area in Quang Binh province.

In April 2018, the public was once again stirred up by the news about the plan to submerge 1 million cubic meters of sludge in Vinh Tan sea area. 

Vinh Tan 3 Thermopower Plant wanted to dredge the passage to be able to receive 100,000 DWT vessels and planned to submerge the sludge in the sea area about 6 kilometers far from the Hon Cau Marine Protected Area (MPA) border line.

In reply, MONRE said the sea area where the investor wanted to submerge sludge is near the MPA, therefore, the submerging will have negative impact on the environment, the sea ecosystem and aquaculture establishments.

The ministry has not made a final decision on the proposal to submerge 2.5 cubic meters of materials to be produced during the execution of the coal port that serves the Quang Trach Electricity Center in Quang Binh province.

All the plans face strong opposition from the public, despite the affirmation that the sludge to be submerged is not toxic and would not pollute the sea.

In 2017, Vinh Tan 1 Thermopower got approval for a plan to submerge 1 million cubic meters of sludge in Binh Thuan sea. However, it had to stop the project amid strong protest from the media, scientists and local people.


Source: VNN

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