Cleanup of lindane landfill at OHIS in Skopje postponed – white dust detected in soil had to be analyzed


White dust in the soil was the reason for the delay on the cleanup of the small lindane landfill at OHIS, the former chemical industry complex in Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia.

The Greek company Polyeco has already started the preparations for setting the tent above the small landfill that was scheduled for cleanup. The tent is with size of 3 000 square meters and at the moment, the foundations are being dug for setting the metal construction of the tent around the landfill. The specialized tent will also be equipped with special filtration units and the workers will have to wear special respiratory protection.

Photo: Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning of North Macedonia

The examination of the soil around the landfill, where the presence of white dust was detected, is the reason why the works for setting up the tent were postponed. Specimen of the soil were sent for analysis at the Chemistry Institute of the Natural Sciences and Mathematics faculty in Skopje in order to determine its chemical composition. Some of the samples were additionally sent to the Czech lab ALS.

The cleanup of the small lindane landfill in OHIS is expected to last around one year. There are around 7 000 tons of this dangerous chemical stored there, including the soil contaminated with it, that for the past 5 decades were laying in the yard of the former chemical giant. It will be packaged into special barrels and will be immediately transported for safe incineration in France and Netherlands.

Near the small landfill, within OHIS’ complex, there is another, much larger lindane landfill, with estimated  about 52.000 tons of this chemical stored. Additional assets will be requested for its cleanup. OHIS has two additional landfills that weren’t examined so far and the quantities stored on these locations are only guessed. One is located in the plant’s yard and the other at the Pelenica location near Drachevo.

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