12.01.2011
Dams of special care. Special service of “Aluminum Kazakhstan” JSC and the emergency department are controlling the condition of the sludge receiver. kazpravda.kz

Dams of special care. Special service of “Aluminum Kazakhstan” JSC and the emergency department are controlling the condition of the sludge receiver.   kazpravda.kz

We were taken in a big KamAZ truck to the top of the embankment, from which we could have a good view of the plant itself and the Irtysh river flood plain. And there, in the circle of the dam, on the “cushion” of production waste - sludge –is a big-size lake of waste – a permanent worry to the people of the dams failure flooding many kilometers of land.

These apprehensions of Pavlodar dwellers increased after the October 2010 disaster in Hungary, where after the break of a dam on the like aluminum production the storage of chemical waste had been washed away flooding three towns with 700 thousand m3 of the red-mud alumina.

To reassure the journalists on the fact-finding visit to the plant the production deputy-manager Sergey Sholohov described the production technology, differing from the world’s. They reclaim the red-mud, deriving aluminum from it, which leaves the waste containing silicate and dark-grey iron compounds ( a good material for motorway laying) taken with water to the mud collector, where the solid mass of 3,5mn tons a year sinks out to the bottom of the “lake”. Then through special mud traps and filters it goes back to the plant to wash away and carry the sludge.

They now have a bigger-capacity mud collector, and are going to have another, third one by the next year – both 15 km off the drink and industrial water sources.

The volume of the mud lake is constantly monitored, we were assured, and the settled water is discharged into special wells, flowing wherefrom back to the plant. A special “clay wall” is made to prevent water filtering around the dam and into the soil. This water does not mix with the underground flow. The sludge is not explosive, nor is it radioactive and is of but a small hazard to environment. It is also compressed by bulldozers to prevent dusting away.

They have a specially trained staff and the condition of the dams, water level, of pipes are permanently inspected, particularly in spring flood. Emergency specialists are also closely monitoring into the situation.

The Hungarian PM ascribed the disaster at the aluminum business to negligence. I cannot say for all the aluminum productions in our country, but negligence is surely not the case at the visited plant.