- Title: 'Tsunami' of toxic wastewater kills plants, animals in Israel's desert
- Date: 4th July 2017
- Summary: SOUTHERN ISRAEL (JULY 4, 2017) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF ISRAEL CHEMICALS' (ICL) FERTILISERS PLANT AT ROTEM PLANE INDUSTRIAL ZONE
- Embargoed: 18th July 2017 15:35
- Keywords: Environment Pollution desert animals nature ICL
- Location: SOUTHERN ISRAEL
- City: SOUTHERN ISRAEL
- Country: Israel
- Topics: Pollution,Environment
- Reuters ID: LVA0046OAYVYF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Toxic wastewater that surged through a dry riverbed in southern Israel at the weekend left a wake of ecological destruction more than 20 km (12 miles) long, which experts say will probably take years to overcome.
The flood began last Friday (June 30) when the 60 metre (yard) high wall of a reservoir at a phosphate factory partially collapsed, letting lose 100,000 cubic metres (26.4 million gallons) of highly acidic wastewater in the Ashalim riverbed.
The toxic torrent snaked through the desert, singeing anything in its path, before collecting again hours later in a pool several kilometres from the Dead Sea, and even days later, the ground is still stained a dark brown and giving off a nauseating acidic stench.
Israel's Ministry of Environment has opened a criminal investigation into the plant's owner, Rotem Amfert, and its parent company Israel Chemicals (ICL), a leading potash and fertiliser producer with exclusive rights in Israel to mine the Dead Sea. The company declined to answer questions on the criminal investigation or about the impact the incident will have on its operations.
Shares in ICL fell almost 4 percent after the spill but partially recovered to trade 1.3 percent higher on Tuesday.
In a statement, Rotem Amfert said it was working "around the clock" in full coordination with authorities, and it would spare no resources to clean up the riverbed.
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