That Time Factory Waste Didn't Flow Into a River

"Waste From Thousands of Old Industrial Sites May Be Released by Floods"

This note made me remember a large fire incident that I was witness too a few years ago.

Dalälven is one of Sweden's seven biggest rivers, and Malung is a small city at the edge of it. Malung is known for its history of leather workmanship and had an old abandoned factory that had prepared leather from animal skin until a few decades ago.

The thing about this old factory is that the old way of doing this involved some pretty dangerous chemicals. As a result the factory grounds were polluted.

And it was situated right at the very edge of the river.

One summer when I was there the factory caught fire. An entire hectare of industrial complex burned to the ground. This would have been a devastating environmental disaster as those chemicals would have flowed into the river in great amounts.

Except that in a somewhat rare moment of political clarity the municipality had decided a few years prior that cleaning up said chemicals, while costly, would be worth it. The risk of having it there was just too great.

And they were proven right. I'm grateful that the only worry the firemen had was keeping the fire from houses around the factory (one had to be razed in order to contain the fire, unfortunately).

-- CC0 Björn Wärmedal