A north-central Vietnamese province has given the green light for an under-construction oil refinery to release treated wastewater directly into the sea for the next ten months.
The Thanh Hoa administration confirmed on Wednesday that it had granted a wastewater discharge license to the Nghi Son Refinery & Petrochemical LLC (NSRP), the developer of the Nghi Son refinery.
The license entitles NSRP to the approval to release wastewater produced during the facility’s cleaning and trial-run processes into the near-shore waters off Hai Yen Commune, Tinh Gia District for a ten-month period ending February 28, 2018.
The allowable volumes of water discharged range from 480 cubic meters to 500 cubic meters per 24-hour period, according to the approval document signed by the provincial deputy chairman Nguyen Duc Quyen.
NSRP is required to meet all standards of wastewater treatment and regularly monitor the discharge. Should the developer fail to meet the required standards, it will be forced to cease dumping the wastewater and be held legally responsible.
The Thanh Hoa environment department and Tinh Gia administration have been tasked with overseeing the refinery’s wastewater release.
The US$9.3 billion Nghi Son refinery broke ground in October 2013 and had initially been scheduled for completion by December 31, 2016.
Nguyen Van Thi, head of the management board of all industrial parks in Thanh Hoa, said the months-long delay of the refinery’s completion did not result in any serious consequences.
“Construction work took longer than expected, but that isn’t an issue in the EPC [Engineering, Procurement, and Construction] contract,” Thi was quoted by Dan Tri (Intellectual) newswire as saying.
The official said the Nghi Son refinery is scheduled to produce its first batch of products during a test run in July and officially begin operations in October.
The Nghi Son refinery is located along Vietnam's central coast, some 150km north of the Taiwanese-developed Formosa steel mill in Ha Tinh Province.
The Formosa facility is responsible for dumping improperly treated wastewater directly into the ocean, resulting in massive fish deaths along the coast last year.