04 May 1998
Spanish authorities begin the clear-up
Spains authorities started clearing 7m tonnes of poisonous sludge spread along 40km of riverbed. The clear-up began more than a week after a burst reservoir near Seville sent toxic mining waste cascading towards the countrys most important nature reserve.
The operation, financed by Boliden-Apirsa, the mining company whose storage facility broke, will take a month. The plan will involve the replacement of topsoil to allow the land to regenerate. It must be completed before October, when autumn rains will wash the deadly cocktail deeper into the terrain and aquifers supplying the wetlands of the park.
Scientists warn it could take decades for the ecosystem to recover from the disaster.