The “Blue Danube” is no more as toxic reddish sludge that leaked from a reservoir in Hungary reach Europe’s second largest river on Thursday. Emergency officials continue to work to contain as much of the leak as possible but some degree of damage to the river’s ecosystem might be reasonably expected as the river’s ph level is altered by the chemical composition of the sludge.
Although the exact chemical composition of the toxic sludge has not been revealed, aluminum processing normally involves compounds that include cyanide, cadmium and chromium.
However, Anna Nagy, a Hungarian Disaster Management offical said pH levels had fallen to 9.1 which is more alkaline than neutral (which is 7 on the scale), but much less than it originally was at 13.
Tibor Dobson, a top disaster management official said that the sludge flowed from an aluminum plant reservoir that burst on Monday.
The environmental disaster has killed two children, ages 1 and 3, an elderly woman and a 35-year-old man whose SUV overturned in the sludge.
Hungary has asked for time to calculate the cost of the disaster, saying that the government’s first response had been, rightly so, to try to save lives and clean homes.