Rayong hazardous waste plant sees another fire

Picturem of a fire at one of the destroyed waste warehouses owned by Win Process in Ban Khai district of Rayong, courtesy of Pollution Control Department

A hazardous waste storage plant in Rayong, owned by Win Process, witnessed another fire incident on Wednesday night. The surrounding area was found to have high concentrations of dangerous chemicals in the air, reported the Thai authorities.

The fire began at the Ban Nong Pawa village-based plant in Tambon Bang But of Rayong’s Ban Khai district and was yet to be subdued as of yesterday evening. The recent outbreak started at Building 3, a storage facility for aluminium dross.

Around 10,000 tonnes of aluminium dross were stored in the building, stated Deputy Director of the Pollution Control Department (PCD), Kanchalee Navickabhum. This chemical compound, once ablaze, cannot be doused with water as it will trigger a chemical reaction, fuelling the fire further.

Firefighters initially tried to quell the flames using sand and soil but the fire flared up again. Ban Khai’s district chief, Tossapol Bawornmote, then requested the NPC company’s firefighting team from the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate to send firefighting specialists. The team successfully used the F-500 encapsulator agent to control the blaze.

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However, Tossapol reported that smoky fumes with a chemical odour still hung in the air late yesterday. During the firefighting operation, a few firefighters sustained injuries. The next plan of action is to eliminate the smoke.

The PCD confirmed that all flammable chemicals in Building 5, where the initial fire started, were completely incinerated. Only materials like paper and plastic which act as fuel were left, resulting in a smoke that may last for an additional two days.

The PCD also conducted air quality checks at eight points, 500 metres to 5 kilometres north of the plant yesterday morning. The air at these locations contained unhealthy quantities of sulphur dioxide, acrylonitrile and hydrogen cyanide. These chemicals can trigger respiratory problems, skin rashes, and eye irritation, warned the agency.

Residents in the affected areas have been informed about the air quality data and advised to stay at the refuge centre until the situation is under control.

Around 100 residents from two villages in tambon Bang But filed a complaint at the Ban Khai Provincial Police Station. They are demanding legal action against the PCD’s director-general and the Industry Ministry’s Rayong office for permitting Win Process to store hazardous chemicals at its plant, reported Bangkok Post.

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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