Wastewater leaking from two dump sites in Ho Chi Minh City’s Cu Chi District has polluted the upstream of the Saigon River, from which tap water is sourced for millions of people.
Nguyen Van Dam, director of the state-owned HCMC Irrigation Service Exploitation Management Company, said he has submitted a report on the issue to the city administration.
A huge volume of "black and stinky wastewater" from the garbage sites Vietstar and Tam Sinh Nghia, which also have treatment facilities, has been seeping into the Thay Cai Canal, he said.
This started to happen on July 6, after heavy rain flooded the open dump sites which were full of untreated garbage, Dam was quoted by Saigon Times Online as saying.
Dam said that his company had inspected the two companies in June and ordered them to take preventive measures.
However, little efforts have been made, he said.
The Thay Cai Canal supplies water for about 30,000 hectares (74,130 acres) of crops in the two outlying districts of Cu Chi and Binh Chanh.
“More dangerously, the canal flows directly into the Saigon River, a major tap water source in the area,” he said.
“If the problem lingers and without thorough solutions, there will be a major pollution risk to the environment, affecting the clean water source.”
Currently, the Saigon Water Supply Corporation (Sawaco) uses water from Saigon and Dong Nai rivers as tap water sources.
The central government has planned to replace these sources with water from Dau Tieng and Tri An reservoirs in case the two rivers become seriously polluted.