CBI Polymers Robert Harrison meets Devecser Deputy Mayor Laszlo Kovacs.

CBI Polymers Provides Technology Solution to Hungarian Disaster

Robert Harrison, CBI Polymer vice president, will be going back to Budapest this week to train villagers in the use of the company's decontamination product.

CBI Polymer President Larry Stack dispatched Harrison to Hungary shortly after news of the Oct. 4 toxic spill reached the United States. A chemical-filled reservoir maintained by an alumina plant in Ajka, western Hungary, ruptured and inundated several villages with nearly 200 million gallons of toxic sludge. Four people died and dozens more were injured. The spill left caustic alkali in its wake.

“As a company committed to environmental protection and humanitarian assistance, it was important for us to help with the Hungarian disaster,” Stack said. “DeconGel was made specifically for this type of crisis and it was critical for us to be on the ground to assess the situation quickly.”

After arriving in Devecser, Harrison met Keve Papp, CEO of Hungaropec, a leading environmental services company. They met with the mayor and deputy mayor who approved a test application of the company's product.

DeconGel removes toxic sludge from Devecser Post Office.

“The results were dramatic,” Harrison said. “You could see the sludge encapsulated in the gel and the treated areas appeared to have removal levels of between 75 and 90 percent with just a single application.” Deputy Mayor Laszlo Kovacs praised CBI Polymers’ assistance, calling DeconGel “a promising solution” for his town's cleanup needs.

As the sludge dries out, the residual dust poses a great inhalation threat from a health and safety perspective. The product can be used to spray down large structures, inside and out, providing an immediate protective barrier and encapsulating hazardous particulates. Currently, many residents are using water to clean their homes and neighborhoods, which could further complicate the cleanup by generating wastewater runoff and potentially widening the area of contamination.

Stack confirmed that CBI will continue to work with the Hungarian and U.S. governments to support the needs of our NATO ally. “Our hearts go out to the families of those who have lost their lives, homes, businesses and livelihood,” he said.

A decontamination solution that requires no water to use, DeconGel has been shown to remove 99.7 percent of alumina from bare concrete as determined by Inductively Coupled Plasma — Optical Emission Spectroscopy in laboratory analysis. It also is effective on such contaminants as arsenic, cadmium, mercury and chromium — all hazardous elements found in the sludge.

Development of DeconGel was funded by the Hawaii Technology Development Venture/Office of Naval Research, the National Defense Center of Excellence for Research in Ocean Science under its contract with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.

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