Nordic Waste: Denmark opens probe into contaminated soil landslide

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Nordic Waste: Denmark opens probe into contaminated soil landslide
A drone photo of Nordic Waste in Ølst near Randers. Photo: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark's government said Friday it had opened an inquiry to determine who was responsible for a contaminated waste landslide threatening the environment in parts of Jutland.


Since December, soil at the site of Nordic Waste has been sliding toward the village of Ølst and the Alling river, near the town of Randers.

The company, which specialises in cleaning up contaminated soil, abandoned its efforts to try to halt the landslide in mid-December, leaving the task to the local municipality.

More than 2.5 million tonnes of contaminated earth have been carried by the landslide.

"We need to determine whether the management, the owners or other people or companies at and around Nordic Waste can be held responsible for the damage that has occurred," Environment Minister Magnus Heunicke told reporters.

The inquiry is to be conducted by a law firm representing the state.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What is Denmark’s Nordic Waste scandal and why is a billionaire in the spotlight?

"We want to do everything in our power to make the polluters pay," Heunicke said.


The waste at the site is mainly from Denmark's mink farms, which were ordered to be shut down during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well some imported waste from Norway.

The clean-up could cost up to 2.2 billion kroner, according to engineering service consultancy Cowi.

The cause of the landslide was initially attributed to heavy rainfall in the region. But a report by the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) concluded the main factor was the large amount of soil deposited.

The "landslide ... cannot be considered a 'rare, inevitable natural event'," the GEUS said.


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