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3M vows to follow Flemish environmental safety measures

© Belga

The 3M chemical company says it will comply immediately with safety measures set by the Flemish environmental inspectorate on Friday following an in-depth inspection at its plant in Zwijndrecht.

“We commit ourselves to implementing them without delay,” 3M said in a statement on Sunday. “However, we maintain that our business activities present no danger for the environment.”

Flemish Environment Minister Zuhal Demir (N-VA) announced last week that the Environmental Inspection Service was banning 3M from discharging wastewater from production processes involving the PFBSA (Perfluorobutylsulphonamide) compound, used to make fabrics resistant to dirt and grease. This water can no longer be discharged into current purification units located at the company site but instead must be treated using the best available techniques.

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The Zwijndrecht company has been placed under heightened surveillance. The industrial processes in question may not be started without notifying the Inspection Service at least two weeks in advance. 3M also needs to keep a detailed inventory of the quantities of wastewater that its production processes generate.

The chemical company said it had recently improved its wastewater treatment system and carries out regular sampling to test its effectiveness.

“We continue to invest in state-of-the-art technology for treating the water, and we work in close collaboration with all the authorities concerned to keep them informed of all improvements made to the water treatment plant and the production processes,” it said in its statement.

The Brussels Times