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Mar 07, 2023 / 18:40

US pledges $73 million for dioxin cleanup at Bien Hoa Air Base

The program showed the continued US commitment to Vietnam on the 10th anniversary of the Global Partnership between the two countries.

US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Vietnam's Ministry of National Defence today announced a new contract worth up to $73 million for soil treatment and remediation at Bien Hoa Air Base.

Under the new contract, Nelson Environmental Remediation USA, a small US company, will design and construct a treatment facility to decontaminate soil and sediments in and around Bien Hoa Air Base.

 Vietnamese representatives and the US counterparts at the ceremony today. Photo: The US Embassy to Vietnam

The first phase will treat more than 100,000 cubic meters of the approximately 500,000 cubic meters of dioxin-contaminated soil and sediment.

At the site of today's ceremony, officials also inaugurated a park established by USAID and the Vietnam Air Defense Forces Command (ADAFC), with support from the US Department of Defense, to commemorate this important milestone in US-Vietnam cooperation.

The park was built on land that USAID turned over to the Vietnamese government, marking the first piece of rehabilitated land at Bien Hoa Air Base to be returned to the MND.

Speaking at the event, US Ambassador to Vietnam Marc Knapper cited the event as an example of Vietnam-US reconciliation that will forever serve as a profound lesson to the rest of the world of what can be achieved when the two countries move forward as trusted friends instead of foes.

"Let us redouble our efforts in ensuring that our bilateral partnership grows stronger and more resilient for the next 27 years and beyond,” said Knapper. 

The Bien Hoa clean-up project began in April 2019 and is expected to take 10 years to complete and cost up to $450 million. The US government's contribution to the Bien Hoa cleanup to date is $163.25 million, out of an expected total contribution of $300 million.

The Bien Hoa clean-up is nearly four times the volume of a previous Danang airport clean-up project, which USAID and the ministry completed in 2018.

In December 2022, USAID launched a $29 million program with a Vietnamese company to complete critical preparatory work at Bien Hoa Air Base. This contract with VINA E&C is the largest ever awarded by USAID's Vietnam mission to a local organization. USAID is committed to building Vietnamese expertise in this emerging area of environmental health and safety.