Fortunately, the results of analyzes of water samples from the Soča taken on April 21st 2022, the day of the spill from the TKK factory, do not show excessively high levels of toxins or excessive changes in organic and inorganic water parameters. There can be several reasons for this; the first is that the spilled substance was not really very dangerous to the environment, and the second is that we took samples too late or too far downstream from the spill site. Of course, we keep our fingers crossed that spilled matter was a substance that will not have major negative impacts on the life of the Soča River and on the health of people who use the Soča for recreation and drinking. Regarding the data on the bioaccumulation of spilled substances in fish and the safety of fish for food, we expect that the competent Tolmin Fishing Family will comment on this.

In addition to all the above, this time the luck was on Soča’s side; the average daily flow at the Kobarid measuring station on the day of the spill was app. 16 cubic meters per second, and in the following days the downpours greatly increased the flow (peak was on April 24th  at 23:00, when the Soča reached a flow of 89 m3/s), which further diluted the substance and pushed it to the HPP Podselo reservoir. Although no major fish mortality has been detected so far, the negative effects of the spill may be seen in the coming weeks and months, when the potential death of larval stages of insects could be reflected in smaller growth or even dead fish.

This, of course, does not solve the problem of the spill. Uncontrolled spillage of ten tons of the substance occurred, regardless of whether it was a more or less dangerous substance. The following questions are relevant to the management of TKK d.o.o. as well as mayors of all three municipalities of the Upper Soča; Bovec, Kobarid and Tolmin:

  • How is it possible for a high-risk chemical plant to obtain all permits to operate in such a fragile river ecosystem?
  • Who initiated the intervention; on the basis of which call were the firefighters activated? Was it an anonymous call from a person who noticed the Soča foaming or was the spill reported by the shift manager at the TKK factory?
  • From which source was the intervention paid for?
  • How is it possible that the catchment/overflow pools in the factory TKK are smaller in size than the tanks above them?
  • How is it possible that an open valve at the bottom of the tank (human error which should be expected) results in 10 tons of substance flowing directly into the Soča River?
  • How is it possible that the inspection services did not detect any irregularities in the security systems of the TKK factory during previous inspections and reacted accordingly?
  • How is it possible that the mayors of the municipalities of Bovec and Kobarid did not make a public statement within 10 days after the spill regarding the spill of the substance from the factory TKK?
  • How is it possible that the Soča Valley’s Public Institute for Tourism has not yet made a public statement regarding the spill of the substance from the factory TKK?
  • Who and how will be held responsible for the spill that happened at TKK plant?
  • What measures and penalties will the competent inspection impose on the factory TKK?
  • What measures will the municipalities of Bovec, Kobarid and Tolmin demand from the director of TKK?
  • Why did the director of TKK not say publicly that the safety data sheet of the allegedly spilled substance Bulident WR 750 does not provide information on individual compounds in it, claiming that it is a business secret? There are virtually no data on this substance, neither on the environment, nor on toxicity, nor on carcinogenicity, nor on teratogenicity. The director’s statement to the public was that it was a non-hazardous substance, which is misleading.
  • What would happen if an extremely dangerous substance was spilled? Is there an intervention plan? Who would cover the losses in tourism? Who would cover the costs of the intervention? Where would people who depend on the Soča aquifer get their drinking water from?

We publicly call on the mayors of the municipalities of Bovec, Kobarid and Tolmin to make a public statement on the spill and how they see the situation. The people would like to know if their plan includes any measures against TKK d.o.o. and what will be the next steps in possibly devising a more sophisticated intervention plan in the event of reoccurrence of spill. We also publicly inviting the director of TKK d.o.o. to present an analysis of events on April 21st 2022 and answer the above questions.

We are saddened by the fact that local authorities have so far done absolutely nothing to help find the cause of this error, which could cause a real ecological and economic catastrophe, nor have they publicly commented (let alone condemned) the spill. As it turns out, the Soča Valley is truly a wild west, where matters are handled by a handful of well-connected individuals who cover their backs no matter what’s at stake. There is only one river Soča. It is not only a goose that lays golden eggs and offers everyone a source of income, it is also home to many animals and plants, the pride of Slovenia, a source of drinking water for many inhabitants of the valley and, for only a handful, a holy place worth standing up for…


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