Press Release

Soil and Groundwater Contamination Survey and Remediation by Asahi Glass on Premises of its Former Funabashi Plant
(May 27, 2005 )

Asahi Glass Co., Ltd.

At the end of March 2004, Asahi Glass Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Tokyo; President & CEO Masahiro Kadomatsu) closed its Funabashi Plant, located in the city of Funabashi, Chiba Pref. (on the outskirts of Tokyo). Situated on an area of approx. 130,000 m2, the plant was pulled down, and soil contamination surveys were conducted as stipulated by the Japanese Soil Contamination Countermeasures Law (substances subject to mandatory control: fluorine and chromium vi compounds) between June 2004 and April 2005. Of its own volition, the company concurrently conducted surveys for all other harmful substances regulated under said law.
   The surveys found that the soil contains fluorine, chromium (VI), lead, arsenic and boron whose concentrations exceed the limits permitted by the regulations, and the groundwater contains fluorine, lead and arsenic exceeding said limits.
   On May 20, the company notified the Funabashi municipal government of the above survey results. The Funabashi municipal government will designate and serve public notice that part of the premises (about 30,000 m2) are contaminated by fluorine and chromium vi compounds whose concentrations exceed the permissible thresholds specified by the Soil Contamination Countermeasures Law.
   The company openly admits these survey results and pledges to reduce the concentrations of all harmful substances, including those regulated by the law and those detected by the company's voluntary surveys, not only in those areas designated by the city of Funabashi by law but also from all other areas within the premises, to ensure that the concentrations are reduced to below the permissible limits throughout all company premises.
   The means for reducing the contamination substances will be determined through consultations with the Funabashi municipal government. The land remediation work will start at the earliest opportunity. Nonetheless, the company expects that the work will take two to three years to complete.
   According to the city's surveys on the pollution levels of air, river water, groundwater and soil, the abovementioned contamination within the said premises has not affected the environs.
   Asahi Glass has yet to determine how the premises are to be used in future.

1. Survey Overview

(1) Survey area: 129,486 m2 (entire premises)
(2) Survey period: June 2004 to April 2005
(3) Surveyor: Land Solution Inc. (License No. KAN2003-1-261 approved by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment)
(4) Number of surveyed sections, and items:
 
Surveyed item No. of surveyed sections Others
Soil Fluorine and chromium vi compounds 1337 Mandatory
26 types of harmful substances including lead 1319 Voluntary survey
Ground
water
26 types of harmful substances including lead 38 Mandatory & voluntary survey

2. Survey Results
(1) Soil Contamination Surveys (including surface surveys)
 
1) Class 1 Harmful Substances (volatile organic compounds)
  In all the sections surveyed, the contamination levels were below the permissible thresholds. For details, see Table 1.
2) Class 2 Harmful Substances (heavy metals, etc.)
  Of all the surveyed sections (to a depth of 0.5 m), 511 sections (that account for about 38% of the total land area surveyed) were found to contain fluorine, chromium vi compounds, lead, arsenic and boron concentrations exceeding the permissible thresholds. The measured contamination levels in terms of released amount were 68 times higher than the permissible limit for fluorine, 68 times higher than the limit for chromium vi compounds, 80 times higher than the limit for lead, 210 times higher than the limit for arsenic and 69 times higher than the limit for boron. The contamination levels expressed in terms of concentration were 1.9 times higher than the permissible limit for fluorine, 233 times higher than the limit for lead and 10 times higher than the limit for arsenic. For details, see Table 2.
3) Class 3 Harmful Substances (agricultural chemicals, etc.)
  In all of the sections surveyed, the contamination levels were below the permissible thresholds. For details, see Table 3.
   
(2) Detailed Surveys (depth surveys)
  For fluorine, chromium vi compounds, lead, arsenic and boron that were detected in the surface surveys as exceeding the permissible thresholds, the survey depth was increased to 5 m on the condition that if the concentration still exceeded the permissible limit at 5 m deep, the survey depth would be further increased to a depth where the concentration no longer exceeds the limit. As a result, fluorine, lead, arsenic and boron were found to exceed the permissible thresholds. Specifically, the contamination levels in terms of released amount were 117 times as high as the permissible limit for fluorine, 140 times for lead, 3,800 times for arsenic, and 8 times for boron. For chromium vi compounds, no downward contamination was detected, which means that only the ground surface was contaminated.
   The Funabashi municipal government required the company to perform additional depth surveys. Therefore, Asahi Glass has been performing depth surveys in 12 additional sections. Upon completion of these additional surveys, the results will be reported to the Funabashi municipal government. Meanwhile, the interim results as of May 20 are shown in Table 4 below.
   
(3) Groundwater Surveys
  As a result of sampling well surveys, two of 38 survey points were found to contain fluorine, lead and arsenic in concentrations exceeding the permissible thresholds. Specifically, the fluorine concentration was twice higher than the contamination threshold, lead concentration was three times higher than the limit, and arsenic concentration was 84 times higher. For details, see Table 5.
   
(4) Perched Water Surveys
  Perched water is a reservoir made on a clay layer at relatively shallow depth (2 to 3 m from the ground surface) (see Fig. 1). As a result of perched water surveys at the same points as the groundwater surveys mentioned above, seven of these sampling well points were found to contain fluorine, lead, arsenic and boron in concentrations exceeding the permissible thresholds. Specifically, the fluorine concentration was 200 times higher than the groundwater contamination limit, the lead concentration was 630 times higher than the limit, arsenic concentration was 7,300 times higher, and the boron concentration was nine times higher. For details, see Table 6.

3. Surveys of environs
According to the city of Funabashi's surveys on the pollution levels of air, river water, groundwater and soil around the premises, the contamination within the premises has not affected the surrounding environment.

4. Contamination Causes
The now decommissioned Funabashi Plant, had used fluorine, lead, arsenic and boron substances to produce cathode-ray tubes, and chromium as a metallic surface plating liquid for glass molding. The company assumes that the contamination was caused by the leak of these substances through cracks in concrete floor, glass fragments being left discarded on the ground, and/or now defunct in-house practices that, until the 1970's, allowed industrial wastes to be disposed of by burying them underground on the plant's premises.

5. Remedial Actions
Remediation implementation procedures will be determined subject to consultations with the Funabashi municipal government. Asahi Glass pledges to reduce the concentrations of all harmful substances, including those regulated by the law and other harmful substances discovered through the company's voluntary surveys, not only from the area designated by the city of Funabashi by law but also from all other areas within the premises, to make sure that the concentrations are reduced to below the permissible limits throughout company premises.

6. Miscellaneous
Asahi Glass is aware that there is some underground waste remaining at a location under Municipal Road No. 337 running adjacent to the premises. The company believes that it buried them when the site in question formerly was part of the company's premises. Therefore, Asahi Glass pledges to take appropriate measures, e.g. removing the wastes, under the supervision of the Funabashi municipal government.

Contact
  Inhabitants
    Isao Fujimoto, FB Team Field Representative,
Display Company CRT Glass Division, Asahi Glass Co., Ltd.
    (Telephone contact: +81-47-424-1101 (Yamashita))
  Information media
    Shinichi Kawakami, General Manager,
Corporate Communications & Investor Relations, Asahi Glass Co., Ltd.
    (Telephone contact: +81-3-3218-5408 (Miida); E-mail:info-pr@agc.co.jp))

UP



(Reference)
1. Ex-Funabashi Plant Overview
 
Name Asahi Glass Funabashi Plant
Location 1-10-1, Kitahoncho, Funabashi-city
Plant manager, the last Isao Fujimoto
Land area 129,486 m2
Established 1956
Decommissioned March end, 2004
Major products CRT glass

(Table 1) Soil Contamination Surveys 1 (Soil Gas and Boring Surveys for Class 1 Harmful Substances)
Survey item No. of survey sections No. of sections where limit is exceeded Measured value range (only where limit is exceeded) Extent limit is exceeded(Measurement/ permissible limit) Permissible limit
1,1,1-trichloroethane 1,319 0 - - 1mg/
Trichloroethylene 1,319 0 - - 0.03mg/
Others 1,319 0 - -  
* Others include carbon tetrachloride, 1-2-dichloroethane, 1,1-dichloroethylene, cis-1,2-dichloroethylene, 1,3-dichloropropene, dichloromethane, tetrachloroethylene, 1,1,2-trichloroethane and benzene.
UP


(Table 2) Soil Contamination Surveys 2 (Surface Surveys for Class 2 Harmful Substances)
Survey item Control type No. of survey sections No. of sections where limit is exceeded Measured value range (only where limit is exceeded) Extent limit is exceeded (Measurement/ permissible limit) Permissible limit
Fluorine Release
Concentration
1,337
1,337
371
7
0.9 - 54mg/
5,000 - 7,700mg/kg
68
1.9
0.8mg/
4,000mg/kg
Chromium vi compounds Release
Concentration
1,337
1,337
3
0
0.1 - 3.4mg/
-
68
-
0.05mg/
250mg/kg
Lead Release
Concentration
1,319
1,319
80
312
0.011 - 0.8mg/
160 - 35,000mg/kg
80
233
0.01mg/
150mg/kg
Arsenic Release
Concentration
1,319
1,319
91
4
0.011 - 2.1mg/
230 - 1,500mg/kg
210
10
0.01mg/
150mg/kg
Boron Release
Concentration
1,319
1,319
6
0
1.6 - 69mg/
-
69
-
1.0mg/
4,000mg/kg
Others Release
Concentration
1,319
1,319
0
0
-
-
-
-
 
* Others include cadmium, cyanide, mercury, alkyl mercury and selenium.
UP


(Table 3) Soil Contamination Surveys 3 (Surface Surveys for Class 3 Harmful Substances)
Survey item Control type No. of survey sections No. of sections where limit is exceeded Measured value range (only where threshold is exceeded) Extent limit is exceeded (Measurement/ permissible limit) Permissible limit
Simazine Release 1,319 0 - - 0.003mg/
Others Release 1,319 0 - -  
* Others include thiobencarb, thiram, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) and organic phosphorous compounds.
UP


(Table 4) Detailed Surveys (Depth Surveys)
Survey item Control type No. of survey sections No. of sections where limit is exceeded Measured value range (only where limit is exceeded) Extent by which limit is exceeded (Measurement/ permissible limit) Permissible limi
Fluorine Release
Concentration
367
3
86
0
0.9 - 94mg/
-
117
-
0.8mg/
4,000mg/kg
Chromium vi compounds Release 2 0 - - 0.05mg/
Lead Release
Concentration
80
312
33
47
0.011 - 1.4mg/
160 - 20,000mg/kg
140
133
0.01mg/
150mg/kg
Arsenic Release
Concentration
91
4
40
0
0.011-38mg/
-
3,800
-
0.01mg/
150mg/kg
Boron Release 6 4 3.5-7.6mg/ 8 1.0mg/
* Additional detailed surveys have since been performed. This table shows interim results as of May 20.
UP


(Table 5) Groundwater Surveys
Survey item No. of sampling wells No. of wells where limit is exceeded Measured value range (only where limit is exceeded) Extent by which limit is exceeded (Measurement/ permissible limit) Permissible limit
Fluorine 38 2 1.2 - 1.7mg/ 2 0.8mg/
Lead 38 1 0.032mg/ 3 0.01mg/
Arsenic 38 1 0.84mg/ 84 0.01mg/
Chromium vi compounds 38 0 - - 0.05mg/
Boron 38 0 - - 1.0mg/

UP

(Table 6) Perched Water Surveys
Survey item No. of sampling wells No. of wells where limit is exceeded Measured value range (only where limit is exceeded) Extent by which limit is exceeded (Measurement/ permissible limit) Permissible limit
Fluorine 38 6 0.9 - 160mg/ 200 0.8mg/
Lead 38 4 0.011 - 6.3mg/ 630 0.01mg/
Arsenic 38 6 0.014 - 73mg/ 7,300 0.01mg/
Boron 38 4 2.7 - 9.1mg/ 9 1.0mg/
Chromium vi compounds 38 0 - - 0.05mg/

UP

(Fig. 1) Survey Schematic (Section)

UP


(Fig. 2) Survey Results (Vertical Distribution)

UP

Page Top

© COPYRIGHT ASAHI GLASS CO., LTD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.