Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology joins the Ministry of National Defense to successfully treat more than 7000 m3 of dioxin-contaminated soil at A So airport, Dong Son commune, A Luong district, Thua Thien Hue

On October 24, 2023, at A So airport, A Luong district, there was a ceremony to announce the completion of dioxin-contaminated soil field treatment at A So airport, A Luong district, Thua Thien Hue province, by the Ministry of National Defense. The bioremediation batch was carried out under cooperation between Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) and Ministry of National Defense.

The task of the dioxin remediation project at A So airport, Dong Son commune, A Luoi district, Thua Thien Hue, is to treat and isolate 05 pits and thoroughly treat the 6th pit for dioxin with biodegradation technology transferred by Institute of Biotechnology - VAST to Institute of Military Environmental Chemistry, of the Chemical Corps, Ministry of Defence. The Institute of Biotechnology has transferred free of charge dioxin-contaminated environmental treatment treatment technology under Patent 10246 "Dioxin-contaminated soil treatment process by biodegradation method" - Decision 20399/QD-SHTT dated 25/4/2012, authored by Dang Thi Cam Ha and Nguyen Ba Huu. The main technology transfer specialist is Dr. Dao Thi Ngoc Anh, Institute of Biotechnology. 

After signing the Memorandum of Technology Transfer Cooperation, the two sides quickly implemented the work and overcame many difficulties such as short implementation time, high workload with many arising factors. Institute of Biotechnology has guided and directly created products for the technological process, implemented immediately after technology transfer in June 2023. Based on the results of a survey of the structure of a group of native microorganisms present in very nutrient-poor soils and the discovery of more highly toxic soil locations in the depths, Institute of Biotechnology - VAST has changed and created new preparations suitable for the characteristics of pollution in A So. After completing the products for the processing process and having enough input materials, the two sides jointly carried out the mixing according to the processing formula transferred by Institute of Biotechnology.

The product is created with additional techniques to combine with environmental factors to optimize the growth rate for microorganisms present in the soil, facilitating the highest and fastest mineralization of highly polluted soil. Monitoring observations show that the soil is loose and porous, with increasing humus. The growth changes of microbial biomes are periodically assessed through a variety of intensive, new and modern techniques.

Biodegradation technology treatment technology for herbicides containing a mixture of dioxins and other metabolites, which depends on microbial characteristics and soil and physicochemical characteristics of each polluted area, has been successfully applied on a large scale by Institute of Biotechnology - VAST at Da Nang airport, Bien Hoa and now A So airport, Thua Thien Hue.

Since 1999, VAST has worked closely with Ministry of Defense in researching and implementing detoxification treatment of chemical toxins used by the United States during the Vietnam War. There have been 6 successful cooperation projects, training 2 PhDs and 1 Master under Ministry of Defense with expertise related to dioxin-containing chemical poisons. Many relevant research works and useful solutions have been jointly published at home and abroad.

Outstanding cooperation can be mentioned as the chemical poison treatment project implemented at Z1 area, Bien Hoa airport (2009 - Ministry of Defense is the investor). Biodegradation treatment (implemented by Institute of Biotechnology - VAST) has successfully treated 3,384m3 of initially contaminated soil with an average total toxicity of 10,000ngTEQ/kg dry soil. After 40 months, the toxicity decreased to 14.12 ngTEQ/kg dry land, the toxicity reached below Vietnam's standard threshold for regular agricultural production land (40ngTEQ/kg dry land). The results were independently evaluated by the National Council in 2014 and accepted at Ministry of Science and Technology. In addition, the project funded by the Ford Foundation was implemented at Da Nang airport in 2009 with a total initial toxicity of 43,000ngTEQ/kg of dry soil. The project was conducted with the U.S. EPA with 11 different processing formulations. After 6 months of treatment, 30% of the toxicity has been removed, the decomposition efficiency per day is up to more than 100 ng/TEQ/kg of dry soil/day.

The success of biodegradation technology applied to contaminated soil at A So Airport has opened up new prospects for its applicability to other halogen-contaminated sites under different soil conditions and material cycles. For areas affected by long-term chemical toxins such as Dong Son commune, A Luoi, this success shows that although the soil is highly polluted and complex, the soil lacks basic nutrition, but after applying technology with new and innovative elements of the Institute of Biotechnology - VAST, the land will be used for farming. It was a success not only scientifically, but also of important social significance for the land of A Luoi district.

Vice President of Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology Tran Tuan Anh and Vice Chairman of Thua Thien Hue People's Committee Phan Quy Phuong awarded the Certificate of Merit from the Minister of National Defense to individuals with outstanding achievements in dioxin remediation at A So airport

VAST scientists transfer technology and jointly remediate dioxin-contaminated soil at the site


Translated by Phuong Ha
Link to Vietnamese version

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