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Helping FHS to act on lessons learned from an algae bloom.

Completion of a high-profile 12-month project has helped a Vietnamese treatment plant demonstrate that lessons have been learned following a red-tide bloom.



FHS is the largest foreign direct investment venture in Vietnam – and the first steel mill invested in by Formosa Plastics Group. The company expects its total production capacity of crude steel production to reach 7.1 million tonnes per year.

Since the design and construction stage of designing and establishing the plant, FHS had been setting up environmental protection facilities based on the relevant standards. The company then continued to promote and implement environmental protection, with particular focus on the optimization and management of three wastewater treatment plants.

In 2017, FHS completed seven wastewater treatment optimization projects and entered the operational phase. At that point, FHS asked LRQA’s Risk Management Consulting team to help improve the operation efficiency by identifying and eliminating potential risks. This included analysing the root causes of previous algal bloom and adopting efficient surveillance measures on surrounding waters.

How we helped

The independent verification and validation (IV&V) project was completed in late 2018.  We based the HSE case assessment, HSE case validation and verification, and red tide assessment on international best practices, which are more stringent than Vietnam’s legal regulations for steel plants to conduct safety status analysis and red-tide monitoring plans for surrounding waters.

1. HSE case assessment

For the first part of the project, the  scope included a number of studies, such as:

  • Thoroughly identifying environmental hazards in the waste water treatment plants;
  • Reviewing standard operating procedure and emergency response planning systems;
  • Identifying environmental critical elements (ECE), developing ECE performance standards and integrating its check/test/prevention and maintenance plan.

We also provided a remedial action plan, comprising 114 items, all of which have now been implemented by FHS.

2. HSE case verification and validation

For the second element an onsite waste water treatment expert was assigned to monitor critical operational parameters and indicators. The stability and accountability of wastewater treatment plants were verified and it showed that the effluent satisfied Vietnam's legal requirement. Furthermore, FHS has built an ecology pond system, which became a critical safeguard and a major barrier to reduce the major risk.

3. Red-tide assessment

For the third part of the project we brought the world-renowned red-tide specialist, Dr. Ho Kin Chung and his team.  They applied red-tide monitoring methodology to deliver several outcomes:

  • Verify red-tide samples and data analysis for a year;
  • Advise the emergency measures as red tide blooms;
  • Deliver relating training.

The impact

The data has enabled FHS to develop a deep understanding of the major types of algae in surrounding waters, which are mostly influenced by environmental factors. 

FHS will continue to sample and analyse the data in order to collect more scientific evidence, which can be shared with stakeholders for the purpose of reducing and mitigating such impacts in the future. 

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