Tanalith chemical spill at northern timber facility

THE chemical that spilled at the Malau Port in Labasa last Monday has been identified by the Ministry of Environment as Tanalith.
Considered as a very toxic chemical to aquatic organisms, the United Kingdom’s Safety Data Sheet revealed that Tanalith could have lasting effects on the marine ecosystem; the chemical classified as “able to cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment”.
The chemical product, which according to the datasheet is a mix of chromium, copper, and arsenic, should not be allowed to enter drains, watercourses or the soil.
Fiji’s Ministry of Environment’s permanent secretary Joshua Wycliffe said they had received a report from Fiji Forest Industries (FFI) that one of its Tanalith storage tanks had burst and that this chemical had spilled onto the surrounding environment at the facility.
He said a coordinated approach had been taken by three agencies – Ministry of Environment, National Fire Authority and Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji – to mitigate the spillage.
“The chemical Tanalith is used to treat sawn timber while the facility is located at Malau, Labasa on an elevated lot from the sea,” Mr Wycliffe said.