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Rainwater Poured into the Pará River Did Not Affect Communities, Says Norwegian Company

03/21/2018 - 10h50

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FABIANO MAISONNAVE
FROM MANAUS

The Norwegian company Norsk Hydro admitted on Monday (the 19th) that its Brazilian aluminum plant Hydro Alunorte, the largest aluminum plant in the world, poured untreated rainwater into the Pará River.

"We poured untreated rainwater and water from the refinery's surface into the Pará River. That was completely unacceptable and it goes against that which Hydro stands for", said the company's CEO, Richard Brandtzaeg, in a statement.

According to Alunorte's contract, all rainwater and water from the refinery's surface must be transported to the plant's Industrial Effluent Treating Station (ETEI). Tests that were conducted by the Pará State Environment and Sustainability Secretary (Semas) revealed that these waters were poured directly into the Pará river instead.

However, the company reiterated that the floods that affected the communities of Barcarena, an industrial municipality near the city of Belém, were unrelated to this fact and were actually caused by severe rainfalls that occurred in mid-February.

Norsk Hydro also denied that sewage from waste pools flowed into the waters of the local communities. The accusation was put forward by the Evandro Chagas Institute as well as community leaders, but the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) conducted three surveys and found no evidence of this. Residents who live in flooded areas were interviewed by Folha and said that the waters came from the dump.

On the other hand, Ibama did issue Hydro Alunorte a R$ 20 million fine (US$ 6 million) due to contractual violations. At the request of the Public Prosecutor's Office of Pará, a judge ordered the company to shutdown one of its waste pools.

Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON

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