By Julia Averbuck, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Federal Police has opened an official in inquiry in the Division of Environmental Crimes in Rio in which it accuses national oil company Petrobras of dumping highly-toxic residues in the ocean without any prior treatment of the waste materials.

Deputy Fabio Scliar leading the inquiry, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Deputy Fabio Scliar leading the inquiry against Petrobras, photo by Portal Marítimo.

These residues are known as “production water” or “black water,” a contaminated water that surfaces along with the oil extracted in offshore platforms. This water contains grease and other chemical elements that are considered harmful for the environment and human health.

The industry says 99 percent of these residues are treated in the very platform where they surface and subsequently dumped. However, one percent of these residues have to be taken to maritime terminals to be treated.

It is this one percent, equivalent to 546 million liters in 2011, that is being dumped in the water without any prior treatment. The investigation of Petrobras for these charges has been going on for the past ten months, under Deputy Fabio Scliar.

Scliar first started the investigation after he found irregular removal of toxic waste at the Duque de Caxias Refinery. Petrobras has already been fined R$3.3 million in this case and forced to create a treatment center for the waste by 2017.

These accusations, which received a spread in Época magazine last week, come on the heels of Petrobras’ worst quarter in the past thirteen years.

The announcement also comes amidst a tide of negative press for the oil industry in Brazil, after the Chevron spill became national news last year. Chevron and drilling company Transocean were recently banned from operating while the case is ongoing.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Update is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.


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