Waste discharge from ethanol factory may render farming impossible in affected areas

A chemistry lecturer at Kasetsart University has expressed concern that the hydrogen sulfide in the untreated wastewater discharged into the environment by an ethanol production factory in Suphan Buri province may contaminate soil in affected areas to the extent that farming will not be possible.

Dr Vichai Putthawong, a chemistry lecturer at the faculty of liberal arts and science of Kasetsart University, told the audience of a Thai People’s Station programme that the waste discharge from the factory was mainly organic matter or hydrogen sulfide which gave out strong smell but, more importantly, was acidic which could pose a threat to farming in the affected areas.

He, however, admitted it could not be determined yet how much areas were contaminated and at what level.

Heavy rain resulted in flooding that broke the walls of a pond holding the untreated wastewater from the ethanol factory.  The polluted water was swept by flood water to surrounding areas in Dan Chang district of Suphan Buri.

Dan Chang district chief officer Mr Choon Natthadet said the factory had been told to pump the wastewater back into the treatment pond whose collapsed walls have already been fixed.

He added that the district office had worked out a plan to ease the hardships of people in Ban Sabuakham in Tambon Nong Makamong which was most affected by the effluent from the factory.