Workers treat dioxin-contaminated soil at Da Nang International Airport. (Photo: vovworld.vn)

Da Nang (VNA) - US Ambassador Ted Osius and Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh, the Deputy Minister of National Defence, announced on May 3 the successful treatment of dioxin-contaminated soil at Da Nang International Airport under a project managed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Ministry of National Defence.

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam attended the event.

Scientific sampling of the approximately 45,000 cubic metres of treated soil established that it is well within the treatment goal.

“Completing the first phase of treatment marks a significant milestone for the project and our two nations,” Osius said. “We did this in partnership, learning from each other, to accomplish a historic scientific and diplomatic achievement. This project shows how much we can accomplish in the spirit of friendship and mutual respect.”

At the event to announce the successful completion of the first phase, treated land and soil from the project site was formally accepted by the Government. The Airport Corporation of Vietnam will use the land to construct a new taxiway and plane parking area to support the Da Nang International Airport expansion planned in preparation for the 2017 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting.

The US and Vietnam launched the project to address dioxin contamination at the airport in 2012. Treatment of the first phase of contaminated soil was initiated in 2014 with an event attended by a US congressional delegation led by Senator Patrick Leahy; Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh; and other senior US and Vietnamese officials. The announcement reflects the strength of cooperation over the course of the project. The second and final phase, which will start later this year, will treat approximately 45,000 cubic metres of contaminated soil and sediment.

Using an In-Pile Thermal Desorption (IPTD) system, batches of contaminated soil and sediment are placed in a container and heated to a temperature of 335 degrees Celsius, which destroys 95 percent of dioxin contamination.

The soil is later removed from the container and tested for traces of contaminants before being put back.

Da Nang’s former US air base has high levels of dioxin contamination. Bien Hoa in the southwestern province of Dong Nai is another hotspot.-VNA