Suspicions of crude oil leaking into wells in eastern Slovakia

The chemical compound found in oil appeared in wells in seven villages and the town of Sobrance.

Expert taking sample of the leak. Expert taking sample of the leak. (Source: TASR)

Chemicals resembling crude oil have alarmed residents of Sobrance and surroundings in eastern Slovakia.

On July 12, experts took samples from three places where the asphalt-bitumen part of crude oil was found in Sobrance and in the Sobrance spa. Experts are now expected to come up with a detailed analysis.

Ivan Baráth from the section of geology of the Environment Ministry said that it is now key to find out if the chemicals permeating through are artificial, or if the surface leaking is a natural phenomenon, TASR reported.

The authorities will then decide how to proceed with the sanation of the localities.

"If it is natural crude oil, the sanation is much more problematic, because the sources tend to be deeper," Baráth said. "It will thus be necessary to consider drinking water supplies not from the wells but from alternative water pipes, and the problem will need to be solved by other means, of which I am not aware yet."

While the town of Sobrance does have its own water piping, the villages do not. In Blatné Revište, one of the affected villages, residents bring their drinking water from the village of Jovsa. Other villages that might have a problem with the leaking crude oil are Porostov, Kristy, Svätuš, Blatná Polianka, Beňatina and Ruský Hrabovec, TASR wrote.

Baráth noted that a natural surface appearance of crude oil in Slovakia is rare.

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