between Bhopal plant and Institute Plant :
has always publicly maintained that there were no essential differences
between the standards, equipment and technology used in Bhopal and in
Institute, West Virginia. But this was not true. Apart from revelations
that "unproven" and "untried" technology had been
used in the crucial carbon monoxide, phosgene and MIC units in Bhopal,
the plant's waste disposal systems were not the same.
Company's Environmental Impact Assessment report states that the Bhopal
plant is modeled on Union Carbide's plant at Institute, West Virginia
but only "where suitable" (UCC 04204).
as an International Union group was to discover, soon after the 1984 gas
disaster, the vent gas scrubber could never have coped with the volumes
of toxins stored in Bhopal (but not in Institute).
environmental safety, Carbide's Institute plant had high EIA ratings "based
on water discharges into the Kanahwa River" whereas "process
design for Bhopal is based on no discharges to surface waters. All wastewater
streams from the Pesticide Unit at Bhopal will discharge into solar evaporation
ponds. All wastewater will be contained in these in-plant ponds."
contamination is not a foreseeable possibility in Institute, but clearly
is a potential problem in Bhopal.
"Plans to construct the ponds are (a) with sufficient area to allow
evaporation of the entire hydraulic load and (b) with impermeable linings
to prevent contamination of groundwater." (UCC 04295).
"Institute has no solar pond" and consequently a higher environmental
rating. (Ex. 2 at UCC 04296).
UCC Engineering Department Warns Of Danger Of Groundwater Contamination
Even At The Design Stage (July 21, 1972): Proposed design risks "danger
of polluting subsurface water supplies in the Bhopal area"and to
avoid this "new ponds will have to be constructed at one to two-year
intervals throughout the life of the project"in order to address
this problem. (UCC 04129). They were not, of course.
Project With All These Design Problems And Environmental Risks:
Project approved for $20 million (UCC 04240).
Linings of Solar Evaporation Ponds Leaked In Bhopal During Plant Operations:
Telex dated March 25, 1982: ìPhase II evaporation pond almost emptied.
Reps of KR Datey at site and investigation of the leakage in progress.
Unfortunately, emergency pond has also shown some signs of leakage.î
April 10, 1982: ìContinued leakage from evaporation pond causing
great concern.î (UCC 01736).
Poor maintenance. Safety survey, May 1982
on UCC for advice on what to do about contamination/clean-up. 15 May 1986,
a desperate sounding telex sent to Carbide Hong Kong, and managers in
Bombay. The problem, 15 tons of chlorosulfonic acid sludge. UCC01760
later it was relayed onward to Danbury UCC01758
later, the matter has still not been resolved. UCC has no further advice
to offer in respect of the 15 tons of sludge UCC 01739/01740
two years later the sludge was still in the tanks, "fuming".
9 Oct 1987
1988, they were still discussing how to dispose of Sevin tar and Napthol
Tar. Methods suggested included incineration, burial and biological degradation,
each of which would have created an environmental threat. In the end the
problem remained unresolved. UCC 2069-70-71
On 27 and
28 June 1989, UCC convened a two-day think-tank at its South Charleston
plant. The subject was the rehabilitation of the Bhopal plant.
of the meeting begin with a chronology of events at the Bhopal plant.
It records such events as the banning of its products Sevithion and Sevidol
in 1976. (The Sevidol facilities were recommissioned in 1981 and ithe
following year began producing Sevimol.) It records problems like the
de-bottlenecking of the 1-Napthol unit due to problems. (In 1982 this
plant was be recommissioned, then shut down and mothballed due to high
beta content.) The chronology records the starting of work in 1979 on
the CO, Phosgene and MIC plants envisaged in the 1973 "unproven technology"
proposal. It records the commissioning of the plants in 1980 -- they had
been running less than four years before the fatal accident, not the 7
years that Warren Anderson claimed. The chronology ends in 1984 after
recording that trial production of two new products had commenced, and
that an industrial licence for 300 Mtons a year of one of these substances,
BPMC had been granted by the Government of India. There is one event which
is missing from the chronology. It simply does not appear, as if the company
did not think it worth recording. Or as if they wished to banish all memory
of it from their minds -- something those who experienced it were never
able to do. There is not one word in the company's history of its Bhopal
plant about the accident of 2/3 December 1984, that claimed thousands
of lives. Products mattered, plant mattered. People didn't. UCC 03791/2
UCC did not
see Bhopal as a city full of living people. This is how UCC saw Bhopal:
of Toxic Wastes at Bhopal Plant Site:
ì[a]ll of the process liquid wastes as described above can be pumped
into any one of the three Solar Evaporation Ponds, Pond I, Pond II and
Pond IIIî and that the ìtotal inflowî into these ponds
was estimated at 5, 550 metric tons per year. (UCC 03798).
The ponds were constructed on top of natural watercourses, so if they
leaked, the waste toxins would go straight into the underlying water system
on Waste Pits & Land Fill Areasî describes at least 11 pits
where toxic wastes were buried on-site at Bhopal. (UCC 03802-03803).
ìThe evaporation ponds are three in number and contain effluent
collected over several years during operation of the plantÖ The polyfilm
may have developed leaks resulting into [sic] permeation of the effluent
into the soil.î (UCC 03808).
analysis of water from the three ponds (UCC03811-03816) concludes that
it is not fit for discharge into inland surface water. Chemicals present
include lead, cadmium, arsenic, cyanide, chlorides, phenols, carbaryl
three tables also provided with a breakdown in metric tons of the amount
of "Liquid Waste" (UCC 03818) and a general, unquantified description
of Solid Waste present at the site (UCC 03819).
UCC Develops And Implements Its ìBhopal Site Rehabilitation &
Asset Recovery Projectî Meeting in ìSouth Charlestonî
on July 27-29, 1989:
ìBhopal Site Rehabilitation And Assets Recovery Projectî
states its ìprimary objectivesî as three-fold: (1) ìRehabilitation
of plant site to a condition suitable for future use of land and building
as light industrial siteî; (2) ìRehabilitation of evaporation
pond site to a condition suitable for returning to State Govt for setting-up
an industrial estateî; and (3) ìRealization of best value
for sale of movable assets.î (UCC 02271).
UCC Decides To Hide Involvement of ìCarbide Nameî By Creating
Subsidiary of UCIL To Do All The Site Rehabilitation Work:
ì[A]ll these activities are undertaken by a subsidiary of UCIL
to be formed at a convenient time.î (UCC 02272).
to recover substantial part of the clean up cost by the sale of chamicals
and plant, in one year of the projected four even making a profit from
The Decision To Use Cheap, Easy Methods Instead of Proper Environmental
Remediation At Bhopal Plant Because Cost Is Major Factor:
ì[I]ntent of the project should be to leave the site in a condition
suitable for reasonable future use with a minimum of residual oversight
responsibilities for the local companyî (UCC 03660).
ìSome examples of on-site and natural cleanup methods are
Or combinations of the above.î (UCC 03660).
UCC Makes Decision To Appoint Arthur D. Little, Inc. As Primarily Responsible
For All Aspects of Site Rehabilitation Efforts:
ìIn view of the above, it would be necessary to seek assistance
and advice of an expert organization having first-hand experience in this
field. Since no Indian organization has had similar exposure, it has been
decided to appoint M/s A. D. Little & Co. of USA which has considerable
experience in this fieldÖAt the instance of the M.P. State Govt,
it is proposed to appoint National Environmental Engineering Research
Institute (NEERI) for carrying out above investigation under the overall
guidance of M/s A. D. Little & Co.î (UCC 02271).
initial contact and decisions re ADL, but when ADL in its proposal (to
assess the by then commissioned NEERI report) assumes that it will be
working with UCC as well as UCIL, UCC wants out. By this time the "settlement"
had been agreed with Rajiv Gandhi's government and the company just wanted
to get out as fast as possible. The name of UCC is scored out in the documents.
ADL to UCC complains that WHO AIC (acceptable intake, chronic) limit for
carbaryl is "very conservative" (because it was a tenth of the
US EPA standard)
UCC makes peevish notes all over a copy of a letter sent by ADL to UCIL
UCC01840, and queries/vetoes suggested payment procedure UCC01841
In the event
ADL's first invoice remained unpaid for several months after which Bose
at UCIL desperately passed on the second reminder to Norm Gaines in Danbury
asking plaintively "if you could use your good offices ot request
ADL to bear with us for some time." GOI currency regulations were
making the transfer of $40,000 impossible. UCC01834/5
completed its report, which then had to be evaluated and plan of action
formed. Keeping costs down was, as ever, a major consideration - and a
desire to do the job as cheaply as possible by burning or burying the
mess. Comment on NEERI report: "When evaluating alternative approaches
which achieve the required environmental concentrations, consideration
shall be given to cost, permanence and other appropriate factors. To minimize
the risks of off-site transport and to take maximum advantage of natural
conditions, consideration should be given to on-site and natural clean
up methods.î (UCC 01830)
to newspaper reports appearing in Bhopal about contamination of soil and
ground water, UCIL panics (May 16) and cites NEERI's 1990 report to M.P.
NEERIís 1990 results according to UCC show ìno contamination
of soil and ground waterî existed at UCIL site. (UCC 03485).
UCC ìBusiness Confidentialî Docs Show That UCC Knows NEERIís
1990 Data Does Not Show That: On May 22 Norman 'Norm' Gaines wrote a confidential
memo to other senior UCC managers after allegations of environmental contamination
were made at the AGM. Newspaper
cuttings published in the Patriot and Times of India May 15, reporting
that dichlorobenzene had been found, and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons
(PAHs) also pthalates. According to locals, the waste ponds overflowed
each monsoon. Fears were expressed that the run-off would contaminate
head of Health, Safety & Environmental Research at Danbury, (had not
yet received the full NEERI report, cf UCC1860 dated 31 May), but already
knew that he dared not use the NEERI data:
ìWhile the ponds were clearly the focus of this [NEERI] study,
the close proximity of the ponds to the plant, relative to the 10 km radius,
seems to implicitly ëclearí the plant site itselfÖ However,
I would advise caution in using the NEERI data, for two reasons: 1) the
study was done for the state government, and I am not sure whether they
are ready to publish it broadly, and 2) we do not know the exact sample
and analytical protocols used by either group.î (UCC 02049/50).
on to suggest a convenient PR formula for evading the issue.
1990, UCIL is still writing to Norm at UCC for help with guidelines for
investigating water contamination (within plant premises) UCC02378
1990 UCC decide that they must do their own study. UCIL's Dr Kanhare prepares
the proposal. It is sent on 2 November, by UCIL's Bose for approval by
Gaines at Danbury. They express concern about the monsoon washing chemicals
into the soil and groundwater, particularly organic contaminants. 1871.
Internal Study shows massive Soil And water contamination in plant site,
completely contradicting NEERI's findings:
"Presence of Toxic Ingredients In Soil/Water Samples Inside Plant
ìThe seriousness of the issue needs no elaboration. It is earnestly
suggested that the subject be given due consideration and studies initiated
without further delay."
"Samples drawn in June-July í89 from land-fill areas and effluent
treatment pits inside the plant were sent to R and D. They consisted nine
soil/solid samples and eight liquid samples. The solid samples had organic
contamination varying from 10% to 100% and contained known ingredients
like napthol and naphthalene in substantial quantities.
"Majority of the liquid samples contained napthol and/or Sevin in
quantities far more than permitted by ISI for onland disposal. All samples
caused 100% mortality to fish in toxicity assessment studies and were
to be diluted several fold to render them suitable for survival of fish."
memo from "Mike B" to "Norm" on 15 November 1991 (expressing
no worries about discovery of mercury pollution at the site) shows that
well after the settlement which UCC has always claimed quashed all charges
against it, that UCC's people knew very well that criminal charges had
been revived against the company were still pending. UCC 03604. The criminal
charges were revived in October 1991. This memo was written a few weeks
later. Union Carbide now concerned to dispose of the site as quickly as
possible, because it knows it has no intention of attending the court
hearings in Bhopal.
On 28 March
1992 the Houston Chronicle reported that the Bhopal court was seeking
Anderson's extradition. They wanted to get shot of the factory and dispose
of what assets they could anticipating that the court would react to their
non-appearance. On 6 April Mike Buckingham of UCE wrote frantically to
Norm Gaines in Danbury. Less than a month later, all Union Carbide's assets
in India were attached by the court.
Show That Site Rehabilitation Was Required As Condition of Lease of Land
From MP State:
"UCIL has leasehold occupancy of the two sites in Bhopal, the larger
65 acre site containing the initial formulation plant and chemical manufacturing
operations, while the second 34 acre site consists of three solar evaporation
ponds. Both sites remain essentially as they were in December 1984, though
all working inventories have now been removed from the main plantÖ.
The lease of these sites is conditional on continued chemical manufacture
by UCIL, and these leases will be relinquished by UCIL as soon as feasible.
Demolition of all process plant and cleanup of any soil contamination
to risk evaluated standards is required as a precondition of this."(UCC
UCC Wanted To Relinquish Lease As Quickly As Possible To Avoid Entanglement
In Major Clean-Up/ Remediation Work If Groundwater Contamination Was Discovered:
ìRehabilitate both of the main 65 acre plant site and 34 acre pond
site to environmental standards established by NEERI/ADL and acceptable
to GOI and MP State authorities. These standards will be based on risk
related criteria related to projected future use patterns. The lease on
both locations is intended to be surrendered as soon as feasibleÖî
UCCís Site Rehabilitation Was Always Intended To Be Purely Cosmetic:
With the inadequate options they were proposing, they wanted to get shot
of the plant and the land, and were willing to have people work on it,
and grow crops on it.
ìAs an end point UCIL will aim to have: secured all contaminated
soil, process plant washings and pond soil residues within the main site
subject to ongoing surveillance.î (UCC 03509).
the methods they proposed to use were not good enough.
Decision To Opt For Landfill Technique For Disposal of Waste In Solar
Evaporation Ponds Even Though This Posed Risks To Groundwater: 26 August
1993, Mike Buckingham writes to Deenis Macauley (Norm had taken early
ìOne option is to pump to the burial in Pond 3 at the end of summer
in mid 1994. I do not favor this approach as the hydraulic pressure developed
as the site is subsequently covered over may lead to splitting of the
liner.î (UCC 02011).
is to return this leased land [for solar evaporation ponds] to MP State
in mid 1994.î (id).
UCC Was Still Involved In Bhopal Site Work Even After Sale of Its Share
of UCIL To McLeod Russell in 1994:
Memo dated April 6, 1995 memorializing a discussion which took place,
with slide presentation of talking points, on March 20, 1995 at ìBPDO,
Rainey Park.î (UCC 02909).
clarified that UCC wanted the Bhopal plant to be detoxified and the land
and ground water components of the environment to be restored to standards
as followed by the EPA-USA. Since ADL are quite experienced in this kind
of work, they were selected to provide consultancy to UCIL.
AC explained that as per the terms of the lease of the land taken from
the State Government it is to be surrendered, in usable and habitable
condition. This required environmental investigation and remediation of
site before handing over to GovernmentÖ
It was summarized [sic] that the site rehabilitation work in hand has
to be brought to completion before handing over land to Government or
any other agencyÖî (UCC 02909-10).
going to proceed with their inadequate plan and if the government of India
didn't like it, they were going to wash their hands of it. (UCC 02910)
NEERIís 1997 Report Was Conducted Under The Guidance Of Arthur
D. Little, Inc. And in late 1996 was in draft form and Was To Be Reviewed
ìAt the outset of the project ADL were appointed Consultant to
UCIL. Their scientists paid two visits to site and UCIL representatives
along with that of NEERI also went to ADLís office at Cambridge
Boston for discussions. Based on these consultations and ADLís
operating practices for such projects, a ëStandard Operating Procedureí
(SOP) was developed by NEERI for the project implementation. Since investigation
and assessment of a closed Pesticide Plant site was being carried out
for the first time in India, ADLís guidance was of great help.
NEERI, although a premier organization, did not have this experience,
and therefore was guided to investigate following laid down accepted work
practices which could stand to test of time for such work.
During the investigation work there was on going interaction with ADL
through Bhopal office for their guidance, comments on ëSOPsí
and interim analytical results of various samples. ADL have continued
their interest in the project, even after UCILís name having changed
to EIILÖ and have provided technical inputs required by us.
Now that the Draft Report of NEERI has been received, the same needs to
be reviewed by ADL and discussed with their experts.î (UCC 02961-62).
this time masquerading as Eveready Industries, found a great many faults
in the NEERI report, which appears from the long list of criticisms to
have been a somewhat slapdash affair (UCC 2971-4)
UCC Is Still Arguing To The Court That, Based On NEERIís Report
eventually published in May 1997, There Is No Contamination In Or Around
UCC states in its motion papers that ìthere was no groundwater
contamination outside the plantî due to the ìrelative impermeability
of the soil in and around the plant.î (Def. St. at • 6; Ex. A to
the Krohley Declaration.)
Even Though UCC Knows Full Well That Its Own Consultant, Arthur D. Little,
Specifically Rejected The Conclusion In NEERIís 1997 Report:
ADLís comments on NEERIís 1997 Report were:
ì2. Ground Water Issues: There are two major issues we have identified
concerning ground water at the site:
Statements concerning contaminant travel times to the aquifer below the
site should be considered highly speculative. There is very little site-specific
data that can be used to confidently predict infiltration rates. The information
that does exist suggests that travel times could be significantly less
than identified in the report. Refer to Tier II Comment No. 41 for details.
There does not appear to be sufficient information to discount a potential
impact to groundwater from contaminated soils present on the facilityÖ
If remedial action is completed as quickly as possible, the potential
for contaminant migration from soil to ground water will be diminished
significantly.î (UCC 03032)(emphasis added).
ADL too finds
much evidence of slapdash methods, or perhaps simply incompetence, in
the NEERI study (UCC O3035)
flaws in the methodology (UCC 03036)
in conclusions (UCC 03037) Lindane was reported as trace whereas it was
far more. The whole methodology regarding Lindane is suspect. Napthalene
conclusions regarding travel time to the water table may significantly
underestimate the potential for groundwater contamination... However,
site-specific data from the report suggest that travel times could be
significantly faster than assumed.î (UCC 03042).
an example, one can argue that the worst case scenario travel time would
be 2 yearsÖî i.e. from 1997 (UCC 03043).
reported by UCC in court, had found no contamination in ground water.
ADL agreed there had been none found, but questioned whether this meant
that there was none to be found. In any case, it did not mean that the
groundwater might not in future become polluted by chemicals presently
in the soil.
NEERI/UCC/Eveready to make the risks clear
18.6.98 Madhya Pradesh Pradushan Niryatrana Board (Pollution Control Board)
writes to Eveready (poorba mein Union Carbide India Ltd):
Lease Was Surrendered to State, MP Authorities Wrote To UCIL Demanding
That Union Carbide Clean Up Its Mess:
ìAs per rules M/s. Union Carbide are fully responsible for the
environmental remediation of the problem created by them. It is also the
responsibility of the administration to get the above land decontaminated.
M.P. Pollution Control Boardís responsibility is limited to monitoring
and to see that environmental rules are followed.
Therefore it is prayed for the Honíble Courtís direction
to Industries Department to get the work of remediation of all of the
above environmental contamination done by Union Carbide Bhopal because
under the Hazardous Waste (Management & Handling) Rule 1989, 594(E)
Section 3 Subsection (1) and Section 4(1) whoever has produced the contaminated
waste it is his responsibility to decontaminate it. Therefore as per rules
it is the responsibility of Union Carbide Bhopal to pay for all the expenses
being incurred on all the above work.î (UCC 02237).
But UCIL, Now Eveready, and UCC Had Simply Washed Their Hands Of The Matter
And Told MP State To Get Lost:
ìThe company ceased to be the occupier of the site on and from
9.7.98. The State Government as the rightful occupier of the premises
and having full knowledge of the status of the site is expected to do
whatever is required to be done in regard to the siteÖ The company
is neither in a position nor is required to be further involved in the
various activities which the State Government as the occupier may think
it fit to undertake now by itself or through any of its agencies.î