North Caspian Operating Company’s contractors continue dumping toxic waste water in Atyrau, says local journalist.

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21 June 2012

Secret dumping in Atyrau. Part II [Kazakhstan]

Author: Artur Shakhnazaryan, Respublika Newspaper

[Title translation and summary translation of the original Russian language article provided by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre] The Ministry of Environmental Protection of Kazakhstan initiated an investigation into alleged waste water dumping described in the article “Secret dumping” that was previously published on Respublika’s website. It was alleged in the article that since August 2011 Agip KCO (an NCOC contractor) has been conducting hydro testing of pipes at the gas processing plant, and dumping the toxic test water in local lakes and the sewage system of Atyrau city without any permission. After the previous article was published NCOC replaced the contractor (Agip KCO) with NC Production Operations Company (NCPOC) that belongs [in part] to Shell and KazMunaiGaz. We have finally received a response to our initial enquiry regarding these issues sent to the company over a month ago. In its response NCOC said that “this water do not contain toxic substances, such as methanol or mercaptan”. According to leaked company documents, test results of the water that is being dumped show that chloride content exceeds the norm by 350 times, sulphates by 500 times, and oil by 25 times. Finally, if the water is clean then why does the company dump it instead of reusing it, which would avoid consuming large amounts of drinking water meant for the local population? In its response the company mentions a licensed company responsible for water transportation and disposal without even naming the company. It would be interesting to find out from this company which methods it uses for water disposal. According to our source, NCOC’s contractors continue waste water dumping in Atyrau. Volumes of the dumped water have increased from 166,000 tonnes in mid-April to 450,000 tonnes in June. [The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Eni and North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC) to respond. NCOC did not respond. Eni referred us to their first response as a suitable reply to this second article; see below.]

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Company non-response
6 April 2012

Eni did not respond to: North Caspian Operating Company’s contractors continue dumping toxic waste water in Atyrau, says local journalist.