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Rhine Valley

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Overview


Rhine River Valley Incident (November 1, 1986) In Basel, Switzerland the Rhine River was polluted after a fire at the Sandoz Laboratory leaked over 30 tons of Chemicals List. The chemicals fouled the river and the atmosphere with a blue haze, killing nearly every fish and most of the wildlife for a full 200 mile length of the river.

 

Background


November 1, 1986: A fire broke out at a storage bunker at the Sandoz Laboratory in Basel unleashing tons of agricultural chemicals including pesticides and mercury. The chemicals turned the Rhine River red, and over a 10 day period traveled the length of the river and emptied into the North Sea (The river flows through four countries before emptying into the North Sea; Switzerland, Holland, Germany, and France). Much of the chemical flow into the river was caused by the attempt to control the fire by hosing down the storage bunker with water. Since the accident, new safety measures have been initiated to prevent future incidents including the building of a trap basin to contain water used in extinguishing chemical fires and spills.

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