Vietnam and the United States Turn on Treatment System to Clean Up Dioxin in Danang

Ambassador David Shear speaks at the ceremony.
Ambassador David Shear speaks at the ceremony.
Photo: USAID/Vietnam

For Immediate Release

Saturday, April 19, 2014

DANANG, April 19, 2014 -- Vietnam and the United States today jointly commissioned a thermal treatment system that will remediate 45,000 cubic meters of dioxin-contaminated soil that has been excavated and placed inside a containment structure at Danang airport. The historic Environmental Remediation of Dioxin Contamination Project is an important milestone in the bilateral relationship and for the people of Danang.

The event was attended by a U.S. Congressional delegation including Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Richard Shelby, Senator Michael Crapo, Representative Jim Cooper and Representative Peter Welch. Senator Leahy, Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh, Vietnam’s Vice Minister of National Defense, U.S. Ambassador David Shear and Vice Chairman of Vietnam’s National Assembly’s Foreign Relations Committee Ha Thuy Thong switched on the thermal treatment system with senior U.S and Vietnamese government officials and media representatives in attendance.

“The progress we see here today would not be possible without the strong, collaborative partnership of the United States Agency for International Development and the Vietnamese Air Defense – Air Force Command,” said Ambassador David Shear. “As a result of this partnership, I have witnessed a strengthening of the broader bilateral relations between our two governments.”

The governments of Vietnam and the United States have been collaborating on issues related to Agent Orange since 2000. U.S. assistance in environmental remediation and health has received broad bipartisan congressional support in Washington. In particular, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont has strongly advocated for the dioxin cleanup effort to help address war legacy issues and advance the relationship between the United States and Vietnam.

The containment and treatment structure built on the airport site currently holds approximately 45,000 cubic meters of dioxin-contaminated soil and sediment. The soil and sediment will be heated to a minimum temperature of 335 degrees Celsius (570 °F). As the soil and sediment is heated, an estimated 95% of dioxin is destroyed within the structure.  Any dioxin not destroyed in the structure is captured as liquid and vapor, which is treated before being released back into the environment. The treated vapors and liquid will be analyzed for a number of chemical compounds, including dioxin, to ensure quantities reach safe levels. The second phase of excavation began in February 2014, with another remediation treatment to follow. The governments expect the project to be completed by the end of 2016.

For the latest photos of progress at the remediation site, visit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usaid_vietnam/

For more information about the remediation project, visit:  http://www.usaid.gov/vietnam/environmental-remediation

Last updated: August 05, 2014

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