Since Tuesday, fishermen, firefighters, the police, the environmental inspectorate and the Ohře Basin have been dealing with the leakage of detergents into the Bílina River.
The foam mainly forms under the hydroelectric power plant near the village of Stadice, but according to the inspection and the fishermen, the chemical leak occurred between Velvěty and Rtyní.
“I can confirm that they are surfactants. Today, the inspectors carried out an inspection at the locality in question, which is Velvět – Rtyně nad Bílinou,” Miriam Loužecká, spokeswoman for the Czech Environmental Inspection, told Seznam Zprávám.
Artificial surfactants are called detergents. They are all kinds of cleaning and washing products.
The Czech Fishing Association drew attention to the accident. “Unfortunately, there are long-term problems in Bílina. We have been monitoring leaks of these substances for, say, the last two years. It was most noticeable in March this year, although this time there is also a lot of foam,” said union spokesman Jan Skalský.
“We haven’t seen any fish kills, but of course it shouldn’t get into those streams,” he added.
The clues point to Velvéty
On Wednesday morning, a large amount of white foam was still visible in the river near Stadic. But it was also possible to see it a few kilometers upstream, from the bridge in the village of Rtyně below the industrial complex in Velvěty.
“With a high probability, the originator will be in Velvěty, at least all the indications point to that,” said Skalský, a spokesman for the fishermen’s association. “This situation no longer occurs at the weir above this area, so the substance must have entered the river in this particular section. Of course, we have suspicions, also considering what the individual companies produce, but we cannot point the finger,” he explained.
An unknown substance with an odor reminiscent of detergents leaked into the river Bílina again, and no fish deaths have been recorded yet. In place of…
Posted by Český rybářský svaz, zs, North Bohemian Territorial Union on Tuesday, October 3, 2023
There is a large industrial complex in the village of Velvéty. It is home to the Czech Aerosol company (formerly Lybar), which produces aerosol sprays, mainly hairspray. The second company is Enaspol, which produces surfactants, i.e. detergents.
However, both companies told Nauzal that they were not responsible for the leak.
Even the Czech Environmental Inspection has not yet found the culprit. “We checked the discharges from the area, but we did not find any leakage,” regional inspector Pavel Grund described Wednesday’s inspection.
The Bílina originates in the Ore Mountains and flows into the Elbe in Ústí nad Labem. It flows through the industrial area of northern Bohemia, surrounded by chemical plants, surface mines and large settlements.
In the past, it was referred to as the most polluted river in the Czech Republic, but in recent decades, its cleanliness has significantly increased. A chemist from Lithuania is participating in the restoration of the fish population in Bílina, who, according to her, has released 10 tons of fish into the river over the past 13 years.