U.S. Conducts First Dioxin Cleanup Project in Vietnam

The U.S. on Aug 9 started a $41-million project in Vietnam’s central city of Danang, marking Washington’s first involvement in cleaning up dioxin residue left in the Vietnam War, the Thanh Nien newspaper reported on Aug 9. Conducted by the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), this is part of the Environmental Remediation of Dioxin Contamination at Danang Airport Project. “As we prepare to move and clean this ground, so have we moved mountains to bring the United States and Vietnam to this landmark moment,” said U.S. Ambassador David B. Shear. “We are both moving earth and taking the first steps to bury the legacies of our past. I look forward to even more successes to follow,” he added. Two U.S. companies namely CDM Smith and Tetra Tech Inc. were awarded for construction management and oversight of the entire project in coordination with the Vietnamese ministry. Using In-Pile Thermal Desorption (IPTD) technology, the project focuses on remediation of roughly 73,000 cubic meters contaminated soil and sediment at the airport, the newspaper said. The IPTD approach will involve the construction of a covered, above-ground, insulated structure that will filled with contaminated soil and then heated to destroy the dioxin. The method will enable the central city of Danang to have 29 hectares of clean soil for economic purposes and erase the risks of dioxin contamination for residents living around the airport. Ralphs Baker, director of the project, said the project which is expected to finish in 2016 is the most suitable technology for Danang Airport. This project is among many relating to AO issues funded by the U.S. government since 2000 in an effort to mitigate AO-linked consequences which have lasted to third generation among Vietnamese victims. It is estimated to have around 4.8 million Vietnamese people vulnerable to AO/dioxin. (Thanh Nien –Young People Aug 9 p4, Saigon Giai Phong –Saigon Liberation Aug 9 p2)