Sludge reservoir crack gets bigger

BUDAPEST, Hungary – Officials say one of the cracks on the damaged reservoir that flooded towns in western Hungary with red sludge has widened slightly but is not expected to upset plans for area residents to return to their homes soon.

Disaster agency spokeswoman Gyorgyi Tottos says a crack on the northern wall of the metals plant’s storage pool holding a byproduct of aluminum manufacturing widened by around half an inch (1.5 centimeters) on Thursday.

Tottos says plans are still on for residents of Kolontar, the town closest to the 24-acre (10-hectare) reservoir, to return to their homes starting Friday and a new protective wall will be in place.

The red sludge that spilled last week, killing nine people, is a highly caustic byproduct of the production of alumina, which is used to make aluminum.

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