ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT REPORT
HOT MUD FLOW, (SIDOARJO) EAST JAVA, INDONESIA
Short version by Wahyu Budi Setyawan
This article is part of final technical report from The Joint UNEP/OCHA (Office of Humanitarian Affairs) Environmental Unit, entitled “Environmental Assessment Hot Mud Flow, East Java, Indonesia”, published by Joint UNEP/OCHA Environmental Unit, Switzerland, 2006.
Complete version of the report in http://rovicky.wordpress.com/
Since 29 May 2006, a mud volcano has been emitting ‘hot mud’ in Sidoarjo district in
East Java, Indonesia. Mud volcanoes are geological phenomena due to subsurface over-pressurized mud layers. The cause of the eruption has not yet been established. However, it may be linked to the gas exploration activities by Lapindo Brantas at the Panjar Banji I well.
[Sejak 29 Mei 2006, suatu semburan lumpur, mud volcano, terjadi dan menyemburkan “lumpur panas” di Sidoarjo, Jawa Timur, Indonesia. “Mud volcano” adalah suatu gejala geologi yang disebabkan oleh lapisan-lapisan lumpur yang tertekan berlebihan. Penyebab semburan lumpur itu belum dapat ditentukan. Namun, mungkin berkaitan dengan aktifitas eksplorasi gas oleh Lapindo Brantas di Sumur Banjar Panji I]
The mud volcano emits mud at an average rate of more than 40,000 m3/day, and has inundated 4 adjacent villages, displacing nearly 7,000 people. Almost 12,000 (accumulative) medical treatments have been carried out, mainly for people affected by the release of hydrogen sulphide gas.
[Mud volcano mengeluarkan lumput dengan volume rata-rata lebih dari 40.000 m3/hari, dan telah menyebabkan 4 desa disekitarnya tergenang, hampir 7000 orang mengungsi. Hampir 12.000 (akumilatif) tindakan medis telah dilakukan, terutama bagi orang-orang yang terkena gas H2S yang lepas dari lumpur].
On 20 June, the Indonesian Ministry of Environment (KLH) made a request for technical assistance with the identification of environmental impacts of the ‘mud flow’ to the United Nations Office of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). OCHA Environmental Emergencies Section in collaboration with the OCHA Field Coordination Support Section deployed a United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team with five environmental experts from 25 June to 6 July 2006. Following a second request made by the Indonesian Ministry of Environment at the end of the UNDAC emergency mission on 27 July 2006, an environmental expert was redeployed to Indonesia. The government of Switzerland kindly provided the expert for this follow up mission.
[Pada tanggal 20 Juni 2006, Kementerian Lingkungan Hidup (KLH) mengajukan permintaan bantuan teknis untuk mengidentifikasi dampak lingkungan dari “aliran lumpur” kepada United Nation Office of Humanitarian Affair (OCHA, Kantor PBB untuk masalah kemanusiaan). Seksi Darurat Lingkungan (Environmental Emergencies Section) OCHA dengan bekejarsama dengan Seksi Dukungan Koordinasi Lapangan (Field Coordination Support Section) OCHA mengirimkan tim United Nation Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC, Koordinasi dan Penilaian Bencana PBB) yang beranggotakan 5 orang ahli masalah lingkungan dari tanggal 25 Juni sampai 6 Juli 2006. Menyusul permintaan ke-2 dari KLH pada akhir misi darurat UNDAC pada tanggal 27 Juli 2006, seorang ahli lingkungan kembali dsikirimkan ke Indonesia. Pemerintah Swiss dengan senang hati mengirimkan ahli itu untuk misi tindak lanjut].
This report contains the technical findings, conclusions and recommendations, including results of analysis by the Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherland from the first mission, as well as the report of the follow-up mission.
[Laporan ini mengandung temuan-temuan teknis, kesimpulan, dan rekomendasi, termasuk hasil analisis oleh Instituite for Public Healt and the Environment (Institut Kesehatan Masyarakat dan Lingkungan) di Belanda dari misi pertama, serta laporan misi tindak lanjut].
Listed below is a brief summary of the concluding points. Each of these points is explained on the pages below:
1). impact on human health and the environment
2). sustainability of the above-ground basins
3). impact of sudden release of the mud
4). toxicity levels
6). existing measuring and monitoring capacity.
2.1. Impact on human health and the environment
Samples and analysis indicate that the current impact of the physical and chemical characteristics of the mud on human health and environment is expected to be low, mainly due to the current practice of containment of the mud in above-ground basins. As an emergency response measure, the containment of the mud in above-ground basins is the best solution. Containment in basins limits exposure of the mud to humans and the environmental impact.
[Sampel-sampel dan hasil analisis menunjukkan bahwa dampak yang terjadi karena karakter fisika dan kimia lumpur diperkirakan rendah, terutama karena tindakan menampung lumpurdi kolam-kolam di permukaan tanah. Sebagai tindakan darurat, menampung lumpur di dalam kolam-kolam di permukaan tanah adalah solusi terbaik. Penampungan lumpur itu membatasi kontak antara lumpur dengan manusia dan dampak lingkungan].
2.2. Sustainability of above-ground basins
The above-ground basins are considered unsustainable due to the following factors:
1). dam wall collapse
2). approaching rainy season (overflow, saturation)
3). continuous emission of mud (average 40,000 m3/day).
[Kolam-kolam permukaan tanah tidak bisa untuk seterusnya karena faktor-faktor berikut:
1). Jebolnya tanggul
2). Musim hujan yang makin dekat (limpahan, kejenuhan)
3). Semburan lumpur yang berlanjut (rata-rata 40.000 m3/hari]
Dam wall collapse has been observed during the mission. The cause of the dam wall collapse is unknown. The rainy season normally starts in October, with mean total rainfall increasing from 47 mm in October to 105 mm in November and 327mm in January. This will most likely lead to overflow of the above-ground basins and saturation of the dam walls, resulting in dam wall collapse. There is no guarantee that the mudflow can or will be stopped. In any case, the mud flow will continue for months, and in a worst-case scenario, for years and exacerbate the humanitarian situation.
[Jebolnya tanggul telah diamati selama misi ini. Penyebab jebolnya tanggul tidak diketahui. Musim hujan normalnya dimulai pada bulan Oktober, dengan rata-rata curah hujan meningkat dari 47 mm di bulan Oktober menjadi 105 mm di bulan Nopember dan 327 mm di bulan Januari. Keadaan itu sangat mungkin menyebabkan melimpahnya lumpur bercampur air dan kejenuhan dinding tanggul, menyebabkan tanggul jebol. Tidak ada jaminan bahwa aliran lumpur dapat atau akan berhenti. Pada banyak kasus, aliran lumpur akan berlanjut berbulan-bulan, dan dalam suatu skenario terburuk, berlanjut bertahun-tahun dan memperburuk situasi kemanusiaan]
2.3. Impact of sudden release of mud
The mud is characterised by high salinity (comparable to sea water) and high turbidity (sediments) and can create anaerobe conditions. Sudden release of the mud into an aquatic environment (river, sea) will result in ‘killing’ the aquatic ecosystem with serious implications for those people dependent on these ecosystems (fish ponds, sea fishing). Release of mud onto agricultural land will destroy crops. In addition to these acute effects on agricultural land and aquatic environment, heavy metals, if proven to be present, will be released into the environment and into the food chain with possible long-term impacts on human health.
[Lumpur dicirikan oleh tingginya salinitas (dapat dibandingkan dengan air laut) dan kekeruhan yang tinggi (sedimen) dan dapat menciptakan kondisi anaerobik (tanpa oksigen). Pelepasan lumpur secara mendadak kedalam lingkungan berair (sungai, laut) akan menyebabkan kematian ekosistem air dengan implikasi yang serius bagi orang-orang yang bergantung pada ekosistem-ekosistem itu (tambak ikan, penangkapan ikan). Pelepasan lumpur ke lahan pertanian akan menghacurkan pertanian. Kelanjutan dari efek yang buruk terhadap lahan dan lingkungan perairan, logam-logam berat, bila berbukti ada, akan dilepaskan ke lingkungan dan ke dalam rantai makanan dengan kemungkinan dampak jangka panjang terhadap kesehatan manusia]
2.4. Toxicity levels
Due to some conflicting results of analyses conducted by local authorities, local universities and the UNDAC team, the main conclusion is that more research and monitoring of the quality of the mud is needed before final statements can be made on the toxicity of the mud. It is not determined whether the elevated levels of pollutants found by the local authorities are due to the natural composition or due to secondary pollution by, for example, the flooded industrial facilities in the affected area.
[Karena hasil penelitian dari otoritas lokal, universitas lokal dan tim UNDAC yang saling bertentangan, kesimpulan utama adalah bahwa diperlukan lebih banyak riset dan monitoring kualitas lumpursebelum pernyataan final tentang tingkat keracunan lumpur dapat buat. Tidak diketahui apakah kandungan polutan yang tinggi yang dijumpai oleh otoritas lokal adalah karena komposisi alamiah atau karena polusi sekunder olehberbagai fasilitas industri yang tergenang lumpur di daerah yang tertergenang].
Some results that can be reported are:
1). Media reports indicated the presence of phenols in the mud. None of the samples examined showed levels of organic compounds, including phenols, above normal expected background concentrations. Although the samples are not representative for the entire area of mud, there are no indications of significant deviations.
2). Air samples and measured air quality do not show concentrations of organic compounds and specific toxic gasses (including hydrogen sulphide) above expected background concentrations.
3). Based on samples and analysis, combined with existing data, indications exist that the mud content is not homogeneous. However, results of analysis performed by the UNDAC team and RIVM do not confirm this.
4). Some samples taken and analyzed by the local authorities (and university) show elevated levels of toxics, such as heavy metals, including mercury. Samples and analysis performed by the UNDAC team and RIVM (Netherlands) do not show elevated levels of organic compounds or heavy metals.
5). Radiation has been measured at RIVM and proven to be of background level for all types of radiation (alpha, beta and gamma).
2.5. Other risks
Risks from recurrence of toxic gas emissions, as well as occurrence of earthquakes and subsidence, are unknown and cannot be excluded.
2.6. Existing measuring and monitoring capacity
The existing capacity for measurement and monitoring of air, mud and water quality is sufficient to provide appropriate information to the decision-making process in the emergency response activities. However, there is a clear need for increased coordination and interpretation of data. There are many actors involved in sampling and measurement (i.e., KLH, ITS, Airlangga University, Agricultural entities, public works entities) but an agreed monitoring and analysis programme has not been agreed established, resulting in incomparable data and possible misinterpretation. This poses a serious risk for decision-makers.
Listed below is a brief summary of the recommendations. Each of these points is explained on the pages below:
1). reinforce above-ground basins
2). strengthen coordination, analysis and interpretation capacity
3). develop a medium term strategy
4). determine re-usability of the mud
5). continue to monitor humanitarian impact.
3.1. Reinforce above-ground basins
Enforcement of existing above-ground mud basins is urgently needed to prevent damage and dispersion caused by collapse. If the existing dam walls prove to be too weak to contain the mud, there is an urgent need for enforcement of the dam walls in order to maintain the high-level of containment (and therefore low exposure).
3.2. Strengthen coordination, analysis and interpretation capacity
The environmental authorities should strengthen their capacity for coordinating, analysing and interpreting the analyses focusing on the following critical parameters: heavy metals (in particular mercury) and salinity/conductivity (as indicator for the dispersion of mud). To achieve this, the following steps should be undertaken.
Action: Agree on a method to obtain representative samples from the large surface area. For example:
a) divide all above-ground basins into imaginable rosters of 12 blocks of equal size.
b) take an equal number of samples from each roster block and mix to obtain a representative sample from each roster block.
Action: Mix the representative samples from each block to obtain a representative sample from the entire basin.
Note: Although this is a standard and preferred way, the emergency situation and difficulties reaching central areas in the basin could allow mixing the entire basin using pumps and taking fewer samples.
Action: Carry out a Robins test to verify the types of substances measured.
Note: For a Robins test, the environmental authorities should have the same blind sample analyzed by all entities involved and coordinate the agreement of methodology to be used for future analysis.
3.3. Develop a medium term strategy
There is an urgent need to develop a medium term strategy – parallel to the ongoing emergency response - based on a number of options, including a worst-case scenario. The environmental authorities should carry out a full and detailed environmental impact assessment of all options for mud management as soon as possible, involving local expertise and integrating humanitarian and social impacts. The next section outlines some possible scenarios for re-use and disposal of the mud.
3.4. Determine reusability of the mud
Measurements for radioactive isotopes (such as uranium and thorium) should be undertaken to determine the re-usability of the mud. Radioactive isotopes could occur as Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials and are associated with geological formations.
3.5. Monitor humanitarian impactIt is recommended that the UN agencies, through the UN Technical Working Group for Disaster Risk Reduction (UN TWG) continue to monitor the humanitarian impact of this mudflow on the affected population. In case the situation deteriorates, affecting larger numbers of people in the area, the UN TWG, together with the Government of Indonesia, should quickly mobilize teams to assess the situation and determine the scope of a UN and/or international assistance intervention.
4. Future Outlook and Indicative Risk Assessment
As a first step towards developing medium term strategies, as well as providing guidance on possible options for re-use of the large quantities of mud, scenarios have been roughly developed in an attempt to identify the environmental impacts of different options.
The scenarios include discharging into the aquatic environment (river and marine) and exposure of agricultural land to the mud. Annex II provides further details on the possible options for mud management.
4.1. Marine environment exposure
The aquatic environment can be exposed to the mud for example, if a decision is made to deposit the mud at sea. This situation would occur in the event of a dam collapse or overflow, as the sea is located only few kilometres from the source. The mud would follow natural gravity and be transported via rivers to the sea (if no preventive measures are taken).
Numerous fish ponds are situated in the coastal zone. Apparently the marine environment, including former mangroves, has been degraded by the aquaculture activities. The table below provides an overview of expected impacts.
4.2. Agricultural land exposure
The mud is characterized by high salinity (comparable to sea water). Release mud with high salt content onto agricultural land can have a severe effect on the crop. However, more detailed research should still be conducted by local experts to assess other possible adverse effect of the mud disposal on agricultural fields
Annex 1. Toxic gas: hydrogen sulphide
As mentioned above, the eruptions were associated with the release of a toxic gas, most likely to have been hydrogen sulphide (H2S). Measurements, reported by the Indonesian Ministry of Environment, stated that hydrogen sulphide levels reached 700 parts per million (ppm) on the first day (apparently at the source), while the concentration dropped to 3 ppm on the second day of the events, down to 0 ppm on the third day. Although no further information about these measurements is known, the concentration of 700 ppm would suggest a direct and acute impact on human health – and can be fatal.
It is assumed that the hydrogen sulphide was contained in the over pressurised mud layer. During the site visits and sample taking, detectors were used (to ensure on-site safety of the team) and no hydrogen sulphide was detected. In addition, large numbers of people on and near the mud volcano confirmed that no release of toxic gases was taking place.
Annex 2. Summary of data and analyses from various institutions
Listed below is a summary of the data and analyses conducted by the different institutions to date:
1). All concentrations of metal and mercury are low and below the standards in the samples shown. Discussion however made clear that some samples showed high concentrations of metal. The mud seems to be not homogenous. A secondary source of pollution (possibly from the industrial facilities) might be an explanation for these concentrations.
2). Air concentrations of SO2, H2S, CO, NO2 are low (most below detection limits)
3). It is not clear if concentrations of H2S where high during the incident and if the in the press reported effects are linked to emissions.
4). Apart from the overall monitoring group formed by KLH, the forensic laboratory, agricultural university of Bogor (West Java), and Public Works authorities where also investigating the quality of the mud. No formal interaction between these groups was noted. The facilities of the forensic laboratory are expected to meet the quality standards needed (accredited laboratory including quality control and cross referencing).
5). The release of analytical results and consolidation of the results did not meet with the pace of the emergency and the required decision making process.
6). Difficulties are noted with the interpretation of the available information and dealing with uncertainties.
7). The analysis carried out where resource driven (normal measurements and routines) without a focus on the parametres critical for the specific incident and crisis management.
8). No timeframes, sequence nor deadliness for the delivery of consolidated factual information where set.
Annex 3. Independent sampling and analysis by the UNDAC team
In addition to the review of the data and analyses by the local institutions, UNDAC team conducted some independent sampling and analysis. The objective was to provide a reference and verification of a complete investigation (information gathering, sampling, analysis and interpretation) to the environmental authorities to identify toxic substances and subsequent hazards to the population and environment.
3.1. Identification of organic and inorganic compounds
In order to provide the most added value to the existing data, priority was given to the identification of organic and inorganic compounds present in the mud and air (sampling and analysis) of the emission point and at locations where the population is exposed. A detailed description of the research strategy, methodology is provided in an annex (I).
3.2. Additional activities
The following additional activities were also carried out:
1). Rehearsal and supervision of analysis of organic compounds in the mud samples taken by KLH.
2). Joint identification and interpretation of the results of samples with high heavy metal contents together with ITS. Provide interpretation of the results according to the Dutch water-, sludge- and soil standards. The Dutch water quality standards add to the currently used Indonesian standards of “discharge water into surface waters”. No sludge or soil standards were available. The intended use, discharge or disposal of the mud determines what standards should be applied (water, sludge or soil).
Upon return of the team, RIVM (Dutch National Institute of Public Health and Environment in the Netherlands) undertook a full scan and identification of organic and inorganic substances in the mud and air samples taken by the UNDAC team for cross referencing. In addition radiation levels of the mud were measured. The results are summarised below:
1). Heavy metals in mud: all low, most of them like normal background values.
2). Organic compounds in air (by active and passive samplers): concentrations of benzene and toluene elevated at the source and the “exposure” location. Also xylenes and hydrocarbons are elevated. Based on the spectrum of this, different components and the fact that the “upwind” reference sample contains the same spectrum (although lower concentrations) we draw the conclusion that these components do not originate from the mud. Near to the sampling sites human activities take place (digging, pumping of mud, traffic) that allow concentrations of substances in this spectrum to occur. The upwind location was influenced less by these kind of activities.
3). Organic compounds in mud: no major elevations.
4). Radiation: normal background values or even below detection limits for all types of radiation.
Salam dari Ancol, 14 September 2006