First Hungarian-Austrian water quality test completed on Raba river

Article published on Feb. 6, 2008
Article published on Feb. 6, 2008
September 30, 2008 Despite the changes in leadership at the Hungarian Ministry of Environment and Water Protection the bilateral negotiations regarding the foaming of the river Raba, which has for long been a dispute between Hungary and Austria, are seems to remain on the right track.

The first comprehensive test initiated by Hungary and conducted jointly by Hungarian and Austrian experts on the water quality of the river Raba has been completed and shows that the concentration of pollutants is higher on the Austrian side due to the activities of local tanning facilities.

State Secretary of the Hungarian Ministry of Environment and Water Protection László Kóthay said "the figures still demonstrate that the foaming of the river and deterioration of the water quality are caused by the factories that exist on the Austrian side. Although there are sudden high figures also on the Hungarian side, for instance caused by the waste water treatment of Repcelak. These will also be analyzed". Kothay agreed with Department Head of the Austrian Environment Ministry Wilfried Schimon in Feldbach, Austria, that further tests will be made at least once a year until 2012. In addition, the two officials agreed that a comparative study will be carried out on water quality and the fish fauna before and after the Austrian tanneries install new cleaning facilities.

The tannery of Boxmark in Feldbach has started the construction of a “third level” cleaning filter in early August and according to the plans of the company, new cleaning facilities will be introduced by the middle of 2009 in its other factory located in Jennersdorf. The completion of the special filters is expected to be finished in 2010 in the third tannery in Wolsdorf.

A committee set up by Hungary and Austria to study the quality of cross-border waters agreed in February to start joint testing on the Raba. The first Raba survey took 10 days, during which 52 samples were taken along the full length of the 283 kilometers river.

Click here to read the commentary of the Hungarian Ministry of Environment in Hungarian

Click here to read the commentary of the Austrian Ministry of Environment in German

Rába River in Hungary is still foaming despite the Austrian promises

February 6, 2008

Austrian authorities are not honoring the bilateral agreement signed last summer on cleaning up the Rába River, Environment Minister Gábor Fodor told reporters in Szentgotthárd on Tuesday. Our patience is at an end, he declared.

Rába River in Hungary is still foaming despite the Austrian promises

Pollution is continuing to flow along the Rába because the Wollsdorf tannery has not upgraded its technology to reduce pollution emissions, as promised, Fodor said, unlike other tanneries in Jennersdorf and Feldbach.

Fodor remarked that Austrian authorities have failed to disclose any information neither about the expected pollution nor about what measures they had taken against the polluters, contrary to an agreement signed last summer. He said he will take up the issue with his Austrian counterpart.

On another matter, Fodor vowed to turn to the EU if an Austrian waste incinerator is built near the Hungarian border.

20070119solyomlas2.jpgLast May, President of the Republic László Sólyom described Austria's 6 year long negligence to halt the pollution on Raba as intolerable and cynical. He also underlined that this long lasting incident damages the bilateral relationships.

                                June 12 2007, Greenpeace activists inundated the entrance of Boxmark tannery with foam in order to demand the end of pollution.

Click here to read the history of foaming Raba in Hungarian