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Cablegate: East Java: Lapindo Mud Update: Hydrogen Sulphide Levels And

VZCZCXRO1122
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJS #0037 2620113
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 190113Z SEP 07
FM AMCONSUL SURABAYA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0052
INFO RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA PRIORITY 0049
RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0004
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0003
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHJS/AMCONSUL SURABAYA 0054

UNCLAS SURABAYA 000037

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/MTS AND EB/ESC/IEC
DEPT FOR DS/IP/EAP
DOE FOR CUTLER/PI-32 AND NAKANO/PI-42
COMMERCE FOR USDOC 4430

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EINV EPET ELAB ENRG PGOV ASEC ID
SUBJECT: EAST JAVA: LAPINDO MUD UPDATE: HYDROGEN SULPHIDE LEVELS AND
RIVER BOTH RISE, RESIDENT THREATENS DYKE

REF: A. A) JAKARTA 2375

B. B) SURABAYA 26 (and previous)

THIS MESSAGE IS SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. PLEASE PROTECT
ACCORDINGLY.

1. (SBU) Sofian Hadi, Director of Operations for the Sidoarjo
Mud Management Agency (BPLS), told Consulate Surabaya September
18 that hydrogen sulfide gas levels at the mud flow site in
Sidoarjo had increased to 30 -- 35 ppm (parts per million),
levels considered dangerous to human health. It has since fallen
to 21 ppm. Soffian explained that "healthy" levels are below 20
ppm. BPLS spokesman Ahmad Zulkarnaen told the press that BPLS
had been forced to evacuate workers when the gas levels spiked
last week. A four-member medical team operating out of an
ambulance at the site told visiting Foreign Area Officer in late
August that they were seeing an average of 10 patients per day,
mostly for respiratory complaints caused by mud flow gases.
Sofian told us that he was called to Jakarta this week for talks
with the Ministry of Public Works and Parliament about current
conditions at the disaster site.

Porong River Level Rising as Sedimentation Increases
--------------------------------------------- ---------

2. (SBU) Sofian said mud sedimentation in the nearby Porong
River is now a critical concern. According to Sofian, BPLS's
strategy of pushing mud into the Porong river has deposited 2.5
meters of solid sedimentation on to the river bottom, causing
the water level to rise upriver and slowing the river's flow
rate to only 3 cubic meters per second as compared to 1,000 --
1,500 cubic meters per second during the rainy season. Rainy
season demands on the river's banks at current sedimentation
levels have yet to be tested and experts are predicting the
water levels will exceed the height of existing river banks
flooding villages and agricultural land. To forestall flooding,
BPLS plans to install an additional dredger to clear this mud
and push the mud east toward the sea. Sofian said the dredgers
will be operational within the next two weeks. BPLS does not
yet have any idea about the potential effectiveness of this plan
and when results might be seen. One skeptic, Nurul Ahdi,
Secretary General of the Sidoarjo environment council, was

SIPDIS
quoted by Suara Surabaya Radio as saying that the dredgers will
not be able to handle mud sedimentation in Porong River.

Local Village Leader Holds Dyke Hostage
-------------------------------------------

3. Local news reported today that head of the partially
submerged village of Kedungbendo threatened to destroy a nearby
dam if compensation payments were not released to him as
promised. Many residents who qualify for compensation have seen
delays in disbursement due red tape.

MCCLELLAND

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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