The Authorities Investigate a Liquid Leak from a Chinese Company Plant in Battambang Province

Dead fish were reported by people of the area following the leak. Photo from Ratanak Modul Administration's Facebook Page. 
  • Sao Phal Niseiy
  • May 29, 2021 9:21 AM

Reports of dead fish in the Sangkae River prompted an investigation into the incident

PHNOM PENH--The Battambang provincial authorities are probing an industrial liquid leak that has emanated from a Chinese biochemical company building following reports of dead fish being found in the Sangkae River.  

According to Kort Boran, director of the Battambang Provincial Environment Department, the leak took place at a factory located in Pcheav Village in Ratanak Mondul District’s Treng Commune. Samples are being tested at the Ministry of Environment’s laboratories to determine whether the water is contaminated.   

“We have been waiting for the analysis results of the water sample that we sent for testing to the laboratory in Phnom Penh yesterday (May 28),” Boran said. “People are instructed not to consume the [river’s] water for a short time.”

The liquid leak from the Chinese factory flowed into the Sangkae River, affecting three communes in Ratanak Mondul District: Treng Commune, Andoeuk Heb Commune and Phlov Meas Commune, he explained. Dead fish were reported by people of the area following the leak.

Asked about the company, Boran said that he had no information on the company or the products being made at the facility and which involve biochemical substances.

“We can’t conclude and provide information yet about what the factory is producing as our technical officials have been working on the ground to find out,” he said.

When asked about the name of the company, Boran responded the company’s name is Er Kang Bio Starch CO., LTD. According to the Business Registration Department under the Ministry of Commerce, ER Kang, which was registered in 2016 and mainly produces flour and other grain mill products, had its name changed to 'Phoenix Industrial CO., LTD in 2020.

Touch Chhoun Saorith, head of Battambang Province’s Department of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation, explained that the water pollution caused by the liquid leak is now under control as the authorities took immediate action when the liquid leak was reported.

Photo shows Phoenix Industrial CO., LTD located in Pcheav village in Ratanak Mondul District’s Treng Commune. Photo from Ratanak Modul Administration's Facebook Page. 

The chemical liquid leak was due to damage in the storage facility that was caused by the heavy rain of the last few days, Chhoun Saorith said.

“Because of the heavy rain, the storage facility was damaged and caused the liquid to leak into the river,” he said. “But they have already fixed it.”

When asked what the company is manufacturing, Chhoun Saorith said it was cassava tapioca.

Teang Buntheurn, director of administration for the Ratanak Mondul District where the factory is located, said that the authorities had inspected the site between May 26 and May 28.

“Some quantity of water had flown into the river before we took action and what we also know is that there are dying fishes,” Buntheurn said, stressing that he could not confirm whether or not the water had been contaminated as he was waiting for the water test results.    

He added that his administration has already circulated the information to the commune authorities, instructing people in that area not to use water or consume fish from the river until the technical officials have fully addressed safety concerns.

“As safety issues remain our concern while waiting for the result, we have been trying to work with the commune officials to circulate the information and instruct people regarding this problem as much as we possibly can,” Buntheurn said.

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