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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

Europe

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Hungary Toxic Sludge Could Become ‘Ecological Catastrophe’

October 7, 2010 - 9:19 AM | by: Greg Palkot

Hungary’s National Directorate of Disaster Management of the Hungarian government tells Fox News the toxic sludge from the Aluminum plant reservoir burst is approaching the main Danube River.   Traces are now being picked up some 12 miles away in a Danube tributary in the town of Gyor.

We’re told pH value of the waters in various rivers is now 7.9 to 8.9.  Normal levels are 6.5 to 8.5. It was at 13.  (PH monitors the alkaline content of the water).  The improvement is a combination of efforts to absorb the material using agents being dumped into the water, plus natural dilution from the water.

Two settlements remain severely effected comprising an area of 40 square miles.

Four people were killed, three are missing and 134 are injured.

The toxic waste can burn skin and is deadly if ingested.

Over 800 emergency workers including soldiers, police and firemen are busy at the site of the spill.  Some are constructing weirs or underwater dams in the adjacent rivers to slow the flow of toxic waste.

Steffen Nichtenberger of Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe tells us it has the potential to be an “ecological catastrophe.” He says the situation in the immediate area is getting “worse and worse.”

The biggest danger is the exact content of heavy metals in the sludge.  It has effect on drinking water, fish and wildlife, and when dry it creates a toxic dust which can be inhaled.  It could have wider effect in Europe including neighboring countries Croatia and Serbia.

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