Red Sludge Reservoir Likely to Collapse

Hungary’s red sludge reservoir is “very likely” to collapse, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Saturday, as many cracks have developed in its northern wall. The town of Kolontar was evacuated because the wall is in such bad shape, and officials have started building dams around populated areas to slow the toxic ooze if the reservoir dumps its remaining 500,000 cubic meters into the countryside. That flood of goo would be about half the size of the first leak, when 184 million gallons of poisonous waste killed seven people and injured 120. (By comparison, the BP oil spill unleashed only a little more—200 million gallons—over several months.) However, the exact scale of a second disaster is hard to calculate, Orban said, “because a catastrophe like this has never happened before anywhere in the world.”