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GORNO-ALTAISK, May 13 (Itar-Tass) —— No mercury salts were found in soil and water samples taken in the vicinity of the village Aktash in the Republic of Altai where waste containing mercury is being stored in the open air, the republican department of the Federal Consumer Rights and Healthcare Service told Itar-Tass on Sunday.
The Russian Investigation Committee brought criminal charges of the mismanagement of environmentally hazardous substances and waste in the Aktash village on May 10. “The roof of a warehouse storing mercury containing waste was dismantled on the premises of the Aktash mining and metallurgical plant, located 14 kilometers away from the village. The content of mercury in the soil exceeded the maximum permissible concentration by more than 400 times, while the norms of the mercury concentration in the air were exceeded by three to six times,” the Investigation Committee said.
The Federal Consumer Rights and Healthcare Service took nine water samples and four soil samples in Aktash. “The samples did not contain mercury salts,” the republican department said. Sanitary authorities also examined the treatment given to Aktash residents in the past two years. “There have been no residents poisoned with mercury-containing waste,” the service said.
The waste accumulated at the Aktash mining and metallurgical plant in 2006: sludge, thermometers, lamps and other objects containing mercury were taken there for disposal from the entire Siberia. The plant’s license to dispose of mercury containing waste expired within two years. The metal barrels storing tonnes of mercury containing waste were kept in a warehouse. The warehouse is being dismantled now, and the heavy metal is evaporating in the open air.