Paint Turns Vietnam Canal Water ‘Blood Red’


Locals at the Nam Dam Hamlet in southern Vietnam witnessed the water in the nearby canal turning red on Sunday (July 7) after a nearby facility washed paint cans into the drains.

According to reports, the contaminated water flowed out of several pipes from the local sewers. Initially, it was suspected that the water came from factories at a nearby industrial area.

However, Head of the Nam Dam Hamlet Tran Thanh Tiep said the local Department of Natural Resources and Environment found out that the red water came from the pipes of a facility that buys used paint cans, before washing and reselling them.

When the department inspected the facility, it still had paint cans that matched the color of the water in the canal.

“The facility owner has promised not to let the paint water get to the canal again,” Tiep said, adding that factories in the area had previously committed not to discharge wastewater into the environment.

The Nang Am canal spans 1.8 kilometers (about 1.1 miles) and is surrounded by hundreds of families living in the area. Over 20 of them reportedly raise shrimp for a living, using the water in the canal for production.

Discharging wastewater into the environment can result in a fine of up to 1 billion Vietnamese dong ($39,331) for individuals, and 2 billion Vietnamese dong for organizations, according to Vietnamese regulations.

Other Red Paint Spills

Modern Safety Techniques
Tarps manufacturing, Inc.

Back in February, officials cleaned up drains in Gaffney, South Carolina, after non-toxic paint from a neighboring business spilled into a drain. The Gaffney Fire Department and a Hazmat unit reportedly responded after reports of an unknown red liquid from a local homeowner on their property.

After inspecting the liquid, all tests reportedly came back normal except for the pH test, which indicated there was a strong base in the water. Other reports indicated that it tested alkaline, acidic and corrosive, “creating a characteristic hazardous waste.”

base painters
Seymour Midwest

Crews then traced the liquid to a nearby business, determining that it was a non-toxic water-soluble paint. Details of how much paint was involved in the spill were not released.

According to emergency management director Doug Bowers, the paint was kept in a tote and placed in a dumpster. When the dumpster was lifted for collection, the paint spilled out and went into a nearby drain.

NLB Corporation
Just Like New Overspray Management

The business, which was not named, reportedly hired a contractor to clean up the spill and clean the drains the paint ran through. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control was also contacted and worked with the company throughout cleanup.

Tagged categories: Health and safety; Paint; Water/Wastewater


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