Mining Company Officials Arrested for Cyanide Pollution of Two Rivers

Mining Company Officials Arrested for Cyanide Pollution of Two Rivers

February 22 (BTA) - Cyanide
pollution in the Yugovska and Chepelarska rivers in Southern
Bulgaria is 20 times the safety limit, Tsvetelina Kuneva, head
of the East Aegean Region Basin Directorate (EARBD), said on
Saturday. The Yugovska flows into the Chepelarska, which is a
right-bank tributary of the Maritsa.

The CEO of the Lucky Invest mining and quarrying company and the
 company tailings pond head officer were arrested on suspicion
of being responsible for the pollution and were taken into
24-hour custody, the Plovdiv Directorate of the Interior
Ministry said. Pretrial proceedings have been launched in
connection with the case.

Earlier on Saturday, Environment and Water Minister Emil
Dimitrov, Plovdiv Regional Governor Dani Kanazireva and other
public officials inspected the area.

The pollution was detected on Friday after a surprise check by
the EARBD and the Smolyan Regional Inspectorate of Environment
and Water (RIEW). It was ascertained that the Lucky Invest plant
 was non-operational and its pumps were off, causing polluted
water to overflow the rim of the tailings pond settler and spill
 into the river, RIEW Director Ekaterina Gadjeva said.

Minister Dimitrov said that all competent institutions were
notified of the situation as soon as the alert was received.
Dimitrov noted: "When we went there, we saw that the pumps were
on. That is to say, actions had been taken to mitigate the
effects and to present the situation in a different light."

Water from the polluted rivers is not currently being used for
irrigation. so there is no risk of polluting farm land. Water
supply to a local fishery has been suspended, Irrigation Systems
 Company Executive Director Snezhina Dineva said.

Lucky Invest will be penalized and will be ordered to halt any
outflow of waste water from its plant. The plant should stay out
 of operation until the tailings pond settler is cut off from
the river, Gadjeva said.

According to Plovdiv Regional Governor Dani Kanazireva, Lucky
Invest obviously channelled its waste water into the river
deliberately, "which is unacceptable and verges on crime." There
 is no risk for potable water in the area, she added. RY/VE


Source: Plovdiv, Southern Bulgaria