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The Hungary ‘Sludge’ Spill From Space

October 12, 2010 Leave a comment

About 8 days ago, a waste-retaining pond at an alumina oxide (aluminium ‘rust’) plant in Hungary broke and released about 700 000 cubic meters of toxic sludge into the nearby towns of Kolontar and Devecser.

On October 9, the Advanced Land Imager on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 satellite captured this natural-color image of the area.

Image Credit: NASA - Click for Full Resolution Image

Pretty remarkable. The sludge itself is obviously visible as the dark brown colour. You can also easily make out the two nearby towns being contaminated.

It must have incredibly terrifying when it happened. This is what a resident of Kolontar said:

The sludge took our car, lifted it up and took it along… We found it the next day about a mile and a half away.

The worst hit areas had a pH of 13.5, roughly the same as bleach. The pH level has fallen to around 8 in the past few days, but the area remains extremely toxic.