May 24, 2017
After the euro chlor conference 2017
Mercury disposal challenge: The most important points summarized for you. Download the presentation given by K+S Waste Management here.
The theme of this year’s Euro Chlor conference was “Sustainable chlorine production; the road to continuous improvement.”
There are many possible ways of producing chlorine. At this time, there are still 20 plants in Europe that use the so-called amalgam process, in which mercury is used for the electrolysis.
Mercury is a toxic heavy metal. Particularly, the vapors or organic mercury compounds can have serious consequences for people and the environment.
The Minamata Convention deals with this topic. The goal of the convention is to use international laws to reduce the use of the highly toxic heavy metal worldwide as well as the isolation of mercury from the biosphere. Through the ratification from the required number of countries on May 18, 2017 the convention will now take effect. This will take place on August 16, 2017.
On the EU-level the rules for chlorine producers require the use of the best available technology. Therefore, plants using the amalgam process have to be refitted or taken out of service and demolished. The EU Commission is recommending using underground disposal facilities as a sustainable way to dispose of any waste containing mercury that comes from this process.
K+S runs two underground waste disposal facilities. Jerry Steinbach from the business area waste management presented the concept of underground waste disposal at the Euro Chlor Conference. What is special about this way of long-term safe disposal? Download the presentation here to find out more.
The name Minamata comes from the Minamata disease. In the 1950’s chemical company Chisso released a large amount of water containing mercury into the ocean. 17,000 people suffered from mercury poisoning and 3,000 people died as a result.