Waste dam break in Mariana-MG

The members of the Brazilian Water Resources Association, a representative entity of the scientific technical community of Hydrology, Hydraulics and Water Resources engaged in the country, gathered together in a general assembly during the 21th Brazilian Water Resources Symposium, on November 26th 2015 in Brasilia/DF, considering:

– the disaster caused by the waste dam rupture in Mariana, MG;
– the principle of strict liability, consolidated in article 225, paragraph 3, of the Federal Constitution;
– that the Federal Law 12.334 / 2010 establishes the national policy about dam safety intended for accumulation of water for all purposes, the final or temporary disposal of waste and the accumulation of industrial waste and in its Article 4 defines that the entrepreneur is legaly responsible for dam safety, and is responsible for the development of actions that ensures it;
– that for the good of society, the environment and for the development of engineering, its employees and its development policies, all engineering services, including design, inspection and supervision of works are regulated by THE Federal LAW No. 5,194 / 66;
– the technical responsibility for the dam accidents go far beyond the entrepreneur’s responsibility, understanding, therefore, that the implementation of both those laws leads to better projects, construction and operation;
– that only with careful investigations it is possible to learn from the failures of the systems and promote measures that can reduce risks of the repetition of the disasters;

 

the members come publicly manifest about the environment disaster occurred in Mariana/MG, declaring by means of this present Official Note, prepared by the Extraordinary Committee indicated in Assembly.

 

That does not recognize the waste dam rupture of Mariana/ MG as a mere natural disaster, because only through a rigorous investigation can be checked if there were failures in the design phase, deployment and operation, as well as if they were done with good practices and proper procedures. Add to that an independent team that is not committed to political and corporate interests, It becomes a necessary condition that such research results in technological advances that bring more socio-environmental security and that it becomes possible to frame any charge with impartiality and justice.

 

Given the above premise, forwards motion of support to the affected victims, requiring the federal government and other authorities:
– Extensive research in order to identify the exact causes of this ruption and possible technical failures that framework in the current legislation;
– Immediate actions that go beyond simple release of the FGTS, collected by the victims themselves throughout their working lives;
Framework of those responsible, properly identified in investigations on negligence, recklessness or malpractice, according to current legislation;
– That all the broader compensatory and mitigating measures are taken, in environmental terms;
– Promotion of the necessary actions to ensure fair restitution for the affected families, based on the principle that the polluter pays, so that they can properly restore their living conditions;
Include in the financial compensation to victims to recovery, with interest and inflation, deposits used on an emergency FGTS, which is worker’s heritage and should not be unfairly used to cover damages caused by third parties;
– Efficient supervision of other tailings dams that exist in the Brazilian territory, to ensure actions to prevent new disasters as experienced in the Doce River Basin;
– That licensing processes, construction and supervision of tailings dams are urgently revised, based on the lessons drawn from recurring accidents in Brazil in the last decade towards the establishment of more stringent safety standards, either at the project stage or in the operation stage, ensuring proper monitoring of the structure of dams and effluent treatment seeking to maintain the water quality of the rivers that can be affected by this economic activity. It is not acceptable that, in view of knowledge and existing technologies, disasters like this continue to happen in our territory.

 

And, as it has done throughout its history, ABRHidro stands ready to collaborate with such discussions seeking the best for our water resources and our society.

 

Finally, the Association will seek to publish the above Official Note in all possible media means, including on its website, in order to clear and public leave their formal position on the biggest environmental disaster in the Brazilian history.

 

Brasilia, November 26, 2015