Acid Pollution in North Iceland under Control Skip to content

Acid Pollution in North Iceland under Control

The Environment Agency of Iceland sent a letter to the executives of Becromal, a capacitor factory in Akureyri, north Iceland—which was presented as an example of “green heavy industry” when it opened in 2009—last week demanding improvements because the acid level of its run-off water in Eyjafjördur fjord was above the authorized limit. The pollution is now said to be under control.


View of Akureyri and Eyjafjördur. Photo by Geir Ólafsson.

Since Friday the Environment Agency has only received one notification of an incident where the acid level exceeded the limit, which was yesterday morning. Testing conducted by the Food and Veterinarian Authority of seawater close to the factory shows that the acid level is within limits, Morgunbladid reports.

“It appears as if they’ve mostly managed to get the situation under control. However, we have still not received a formal explanation as to how they are going to react to our letter,” commented Kristján Geirsson, divisional manager of the Environment Agency.

Becromal has until April 4 to formally answer the letter. Improvement of the factory’s pollution protection mechanism began on Friday. “We have been working on fixing the system lately,” said the company’s managing director Gauti Hallsson.

He confirmed that pollution levels have been within limits since Friday, apart from one incident yesterday morning. “Some of the indicators that were put in place on Friday […] had not been programmed to control the pumps. The pumps were there but they had yet to be connected,” Hallsson explained.

The control of the run-off water’s pH level will now be conducted in two steps instead of one. If one of the systems fails, the other will kick in. “We are still working on improvements and the settings to ensure it will always be within limits,” Hallsson concluded.

According to Becromal’s work permit, the acid level of the run-off water must always be between pH 6.5 to 9.5, while testing showed acid levels were as high as pH 11.5 recently.

Click here to read more about Becromal’s factory.

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