The dumpsite, that is used to isolate dioxin or a.k.a. Agent Orange, is part of a US$5 million project jointly funded by United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Global Environment Facility (GEF).

This landfill, which was launched in 2010 and constructed in full compliance with national regulations and met international standards, is aimed at minimizing harmful effects to the environment and reducing health risks for local residents as well.

About 7,500 cubic meters of dioxin-contaminated soil and sediments found at the Phu Cat airbase have been safely buried in the landfill, local officials said.

Phu Cat is the least contaminated area followed by Bien Hoa airbase in the southern Dong Nai Province and Da Nang airbase in the central province of Da Nang.

The three airbases were used by American troops to launch herbicide spraying missions during the Vietnam War with the levels of dioxin concentration reaching up to 365,000 parts per trillion (ppt) of international toxicity equivalents (I-TEQ).

Vietnam News has quoted local officials as saying that least 200,000 cubic meters of contaminated soil still remain at the three hotspots.

Dioxin contaminated sites found at the Da Nang airbase are due to be “erased” by 2016, using thermal remediation technology funded by the US government.

Earlier, the US and Vietnam have agreed on a method to detoxify 30 hectares of land contaminated with dioxin at the Da Nang airbase by heating it to very high temperature to neutralize the toxics.

The US$41 million project, which deploys the latest technology of decontamination to be ever applied in Vietnam, will be carried out by a US contractor and is due to be completed in four years.

Ms. Randa Chichakli, a representative of the US contractor, said the concentration of dioxin will be constantly observed and measured during the process of detoxification to ensure that it will not affect locals and staff of the project.

“The job will be halted in case the concentration of dioxin surges over the permitted level, or under heavy raining and strong wind,” she confirmed.

Meanwhile, a project for dioxin remediation at the Bien Hoa airbase is expected to be approved by Vietnam’s government in 2012.

"All of the dioxin contaminated spots in Vietnam have been left for too long and there are no reasons for us to wait longer," Vietnam News has quoted Associate Professor Le Ke Son, deputy director general of the Vietnam Environment Administration and Director General of the National Steering Committee 33.

Tuoi Tre News - August 19, 2012