Chemical Industry in Flix, Tarragona, Spain


The Flix water reservoir, in Tarragona, has been receiving the impacts of the toxic chemical industry for more than a century. More than 700,000 cubic meters of toxic waste containing substances such as mercury, cadmium and other toxic organochlorine components (such as hexachlorobenzene, PCBs or DDT) have been dumped by the Ecros company to the Ebro river from Flix.

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Basic Data
NameChemical Industry in Flix, Tarragona, Spain
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Chemical industries
Specific CommoditiesChemical products
In 1949, After The Construction Of The Flix Hydroelectrical Power Station, It Also Starts Working A Chlorine/Soda Electrolysis Plant With A Mercury Cell.
In 2004, The Manufactured Commodities Were: Chlorine (150.000 Tonnes/Year), Soda, Chlorine Derivatives And Dicalcium Phosphate (740.000 Tonnes/Year).

In The Past, The Company Also Produced Ddt Pesticide As Well As Pcbs And Chlorine Solvents.
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsIn 1949, after the construction of the Flix hydroelectrical power station, a chlorine/soda electrolysis plant with a mercury cell also began operation.

In 2004, the manufactured commodities were: chlorine (150,000 Tonnes/year), soda, chlorine derivatives and dicalcium phosphate (740,000 Tonnes/year).

In the past, the company also produced DDT pesticide as well as PCBs and chlorine solvents.
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population4000
Start Date1897
Company Names or State EnterprisesErcros from Spain
Relevant government actorsCatalan Regional government, Spanish Ministry of Environment
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersGreenpeace, Ecologistes en Acció Catalunya, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas [CSIC]
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Soil contamination
Potential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Other environmental related diseases
Potential: Infectious diseases, Deaths, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCourt decision (victory for environmental justice)
The company radically reduced its activities in 2013. It fired more than 75% of its workers.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.There was no visible opposition beyond the petition of national environmental organisation and scientific bodies who were concerned by the level of pollution of the Ebro river.
Sources and Materials

la Directiva EURATOM 96/29 y del Real decreto 783/2001 –que aprobó el Reglamento sobre protección sanitaria contra las radiaciones ionizantes– en relación a la afectación de los trabajadores que deberán manipular los sedimentos.


Sempere, J., Martínez-Iglesias, M and García, E., (2008) Vertidos tóxicos en el Ebro junto a Flix en Ciencia, conflictos ciudadanos y conflictos socioecológicos. p.9: , movimientos ciudadanos y conflictos socioecológicos.pdf
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Greenpeace Report. Consecuencias Ocultas. El coste de la contaminación

industrial del agua para las personas, el planeta y sobre los beneficios económicos. El caso de Flix.
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Contaminación en Flix:
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Newspaper article. El tramo catalán del río Ebro está enfermo. 2012. La Vanguardia:
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Newspaper article. La contaminación en Flix pone en peligro la fauna del Ebro. EL Pais. 2008:
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Newspaper article. La Confederación del Ebro abre expediente a Ercros por el vertido de mercurio. El Pais. 2002:
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Briefing. Embalse de Flix: un vertedero de residuos tóxicos:
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Meta Information
ContributorAmaranta Herrero
Last update03/05/2014