Ho Chi Minh City hospital discharges untreated wastewater

By Minh Hung, Thanh Nien News

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Garbage at the Orthopedics and Rehabilitation Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, which has admitted to discharging untreated wastewater into the sewers. Photo: Minh Hung Garbage at the Orthopedics and Rehabilitation Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, which has admitted to discharging untreated wastewater into the sewers. Photo: Minh Hung

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Ho Chi Minh City’s Orthopedics and Rehabilitation Hospital has admitted to discharging untreated waste into the environment.
“The hospital is now upgrading and installing a new system to treat all wastewater,” Nguyen Dang Ngoc, deputy director of the hospital, said.
He was speaking at a meeting with lawmakers who inspected the hospital’s waste treatment process on Tuesday.
The 150-bed hospital, built in 1982, discharges 120,000 liters of wastewater every day, but only 50,000 liters are treated while the rest is discharged directly into the sewer system.
Though the lawmakers’ visit was known, garbage continued to be dumped outside the stipulated area.
Ngoc claimed the hospital’s garbage site was too small.
The stink of medical waste usually affects a ward for providing physical therapy for disabled children.
Nguyen Van Lam, a National Assembly deputy who led the inspection team, told Thanh Nien News that he has instructed the hospital to install a new wastewater treatment system.
It would also have to create a new site for solid waste, he said.
Pollution caused by hospitals, besides agriculture and industrial production, is thought to be among the causes for the presence of antibiotics and hormone-disrupting substances in the city’s water supply system.
A study done in July by Assoc Prof Nguyen Tan Phong of the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology and others detected nonylphenol ethoxylates at the Tan Hiep Water Plant and in tap-water samples collected around the city.
The chemical group is commonly used in detergents and is considered very toxic to fish and other water-dwelling organisms due to its hormone-disrupting properties.
Another study by Nguyen Dinh Tuan, former director of the Ho Chi Minh City University of Natural Resources and Environment, found high concentrations of antibiotics and nonylphenol ethoxylates in the Dong Nai River, which supplies the city’s water plants.
Since the plants have no means to remove antibiotics, it is highly likely they would end up in tap water, researchers explained.

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