A large concrete wall of a storage facility collapsed in a manure processing company along the IJzerdijk in the West Flanders municipality of Diksmuide on Wednesday morning, releasing 1.8 million litres of manure to flow away.
The large outdoor concrete warehouse is 28 metres long, 15 metres wide and 5 metres high, and can store a total of 1,800 cubic metres, or roughly 60 trucks full of 1.8 million litres, of manure, which is processed to be used for the land.
The warehouse had been filled over the past few days, but the 28-metre long concrete wall suddenly collapsed on Wednesday morning around 5:30 AM, reports KW.
The fire brigades of Diksmuide, the police and the environmental department immediately came to the scene. "To be honest, I have never seen anything like this in my career," said fire captain Filip Vandenberghe, reports Het Nieuwsblad.
"By the time we arrived, a lot of manure had already flowed away into the surrounding fields, meadows and canals. Because the company was still in the start-up phase, there was a large yard crane on site. We immediately gave the order to dam up several canals by digging up soil. Our first concern was to avoid an environmental disaster," he said.
"With a plan of all the ditches, we were able to limit the pollution to a radius of 500 metres around the manure company. Manure naturally contains nitrate and phosphate, and in those ditches and meadows, there will be an increased concentration. It can be broken down by nature, but it will take some time," Vandenberghe added.
The police and environmental services will investigate what caused the wall to collapse.
The Brussels Times