Industrial spill at Bosnia factory pollutes river

Two rivers in Bosnia were polluted by a chemical spill from a soda ash factory in Lukavac. (Reuters pic)

SARAJEVO: Chemicals from a soda ash factory near a town in northern Bosnia have polluted a river, killing fish, and damaging surrounding farmland and authorities on Tuesday declared a disaster.

The spill occurred last week in Lukavac when a dike cracked at the Sisecam Soda Lukavac factory, a subsidiary of Turkey’s chemical maker Soda Sanayii. There were no reports of casualties.

Water experts and Bosnian government officials on Monday inspected the Spreča River and said the factory must clear up the spill and ensure no repeat.

Water samples from the Spreča and Bosna rivers are “extremely polluted and not for use”, said Republika Srpska’s chief water inspector Miroslav Tanasić. There was no immediate comment from the company.

“This is extremely damaging for the environment. You can smell the dead fish,” Srna news agency quoted Tanasić as saying.

Lukavac mayor Edin Delić said lime and calcium chloride caused the spill, adding that citizens are not at risk. He said the company would repair the damage.

“Agricultural land that was flooded will be cleansed and damage compensated,” he said. A local association for fishermen said it would sue those responsible for the accident.