Toxic industrial sludge floods towns in Hungary, at least 2 dead

The sludge reservoir before it collapsed

The reservoir of an alumina plant in western Hungary burst on Monday, flooding several towns with towering waves of red sludge. Two people died, seven were missing and several dozen were injured, rescue services said.

The spill of an estimated 600,000-700,000 cubic meters of sludge affected seven localities near the Ajkai Timfoldgyar plant in the town of Ajka, 160 kilometers southwest of Budapest, the capital.

In Devecser, the sludge flooded some 400 homes, and 40 people had to be rescued in the neighboring town of Somlovasarhely. In Kolontar, the rushing sludge reached a height of two meters.

The sludge, a waste product in aluminum production, contains heavy metals and is toxic if ingested…

Some 120 people, including six who were seriously hurt, were treated by medical staff. Two of the injured were in life threatening condition. The most common injuries caused by the caustic sludge were burns on the skin and eyes, said Jozsef Czirner, the regional rescue service director.

What is there to say?

Are there any industrial facilities where management isn’t surprised when some disaster of their own creation comes crashing down on surrounding homes?

Give corporate creeps minimal standards and they will work very hard not to exceed them.

UPDATE: Death toll now up to 4.