Thursday, February 2, 2023

Judge prosecutes directors of chemical that exploded in Tarragona for dumping waste at sea

The explosion at the Ecoxe Petrochemical Company in Tarragona, which will be three years old next January, revealed irregularities in the plant’s functioning and environmental conditions. While the main cause of the accident is still under investigation, this Thursday the judge on the bench indicted two company executives and three company officials for environmental offenses in relation to the illegal dumping of waste at sea, which will last at least three years. Will last till ,


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In an order, Magistrate Sofía Beltrán closed the investigation and gave the prosecutor’s office and the rest of the charges ten days to charge the director of the Iqoxe de la Canonja (Tarragona) plant, the general director of the company, Juan Manuel Rodríguez Prats. José Luis Morales, and his security, technology and laboratory managers, as well as the company itself as a legal entity.

In the magistrate’s opinion, the five investigated have sufficient evidence to go on trial for one environmental crime and against natural resources and another for document falsification. The magistrate, in his resolution, has said that by manipulating the analyzes in the laboratory, “indications of direct discharge of wastewater into the sea and concealment behavior of the same” have been found.

It all started when the La Canonja plant was acquired by IQOXE in 2014 and the company wanted to increase the production of chemical products at all costs. The plant’s wastewater treatment plant, however, did not allow it total purification of the waste, the judge revealed.

According to the magistrate, in a strategy drawn up from IQOXE’s leadership and executed by various technical positions, it was decided to “regularly” dump waste into the sea. In order to detect, the car is very high, the discharges were concentrated at night and on weekends and were treated with defoaming products “so that they could not be perceived.”

“We are faced with a way of operating the company that is the result of a certain managerial strategy, due to which various workers of the affected departments (production, laboratory, general services) perform their work tasks in compliance with instructions and orders. Done. Of direction”, emphasizes the resolution.

At the same time, Judge explains, those responsible for IQOXE put systems in place to “mask” the levels of contaminants in the water. They diluted the water and “manipulated and altered the analysis to appear to comply with the emission limit values ​​for wastewater”, insisted the magistrate, who handed over the altered data to the Catalan water agency and the company responsible for the environment. was provided. Control.

The case summary revealed that the Generalitat detected several “relevant violations” of the plant’s environmental regulations in an inspection carried out by field ministry technicians a month and a half before the explosion, which resulted in three deaths (two workers and a neighbor).

Irregularities, which the Environment Secretariat report urged Ecoxe to fix “immediately”, included excessive reagent consumption from various plants as well as emissions into the atmosphere, wastewater and waste production above permitted values.

On the other hand, several investigative proceedings are still pending in the main part. The judge and the Mossos d’Esquadra have conducted a thorough investigation. Since the beginning of the case, magistrates have pointed to personnel costs and a “commercial policy” to reduce chemical safety as triggers for the explosion, which Iqoxe denies.

Nation World News Desk
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