Update: Impact of red sludge on the Danube, Plant to reopen

Natural disaster unlikely

The latest Danube readings taken by investigators indicate the pH - or acidity - level is 8.5, lower than the original reading of 13, but still slightly above normal.

Sample taken from the DanubeAccording to Gyorgyi Tottos, the Hungarian emergency services spokeswoman, the 8.5 pH is not dangerous and can sustain life. pH readings range from 0 to 14. Levels lower than 7 characterize acids, and levels higher than 7 denote bases. Highly acidic or highly basic water can harm living things.

The 8.5 pH level and fast-moving currents make officials optimistic that a natural disaster can be avoided, she said.

She added that the pH level will normalize by the time the Danube reaches countries downstream, which include Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine.

The director of Croatian Waters Zoran Djurkovic said on Sunday that the quantity of metals measured in the river "does not exceed the maximum limits allowed for even drinking water." The Croatian Danube is still free from the toxic sludge.

Hungarian aluminum plant to reopen

The aluminum plant at the heart of the deadly toxic red sludge spill in Hungary will resume production at the end of the week, government officials said Wednesday. The plant will be guarded by police and will be monitored by the government.

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