Fish killed during trial run at Vietnam biofuel factory

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The trial run of a bio-ethanol factory in central Vietnam has discharged untreated wastewater that killed large amounts of fish nearby, factory leaders have admitted.

On Monday, belly-up fish covered two hectares of water-logged fields behind the factory of the Central Region Biofuel JSC in Quang Ngai Province.

Several farmers also said their rice paddies had been damaged by the discharge.

Ho Si Long, director of the company, said the dead fish "was an unexpected incident. We didn't intend to discharge the wastewater.

"The factory is on a trial run, so mistakes are inevitable."

Long said the discharge has been stopped and workers from the company have been sent out to collect the dead fish.

He said the company would use chemicals to clean the area and reduce the smell. The job is expected to be done in a couple days.

During a meeting with the province government on Monday, the company's board director Dang Vinh Nghi also apologized to local people and promised to clear the pollution.

Quang Ngai People's Committee has asked the company to prevent the pollution from spreading, compensate affected people and provide them with alternative water sources in the mean time.

Pham Nhu So, vice chairman of the committee, said the pollution is "serious."

"If the company does not act quickly and properly, its factory will be shut down until the problem is solved," So said.

Last week, an ammonia leak from the Ca Mau Protein Factory in the southernmost Ca Mau Province also killed fish in a local river.

The factory will be suspended five days until Wednesday for inspections, said Ho Hoan Tat, director of the province Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

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