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Company Fires Director Responsible for Hanoi Water Crisis

The aftermath of the Hanoi water crisis lingers on.

VnExpress reports that Nguyen Van Ton, general director of Vinaconex Water Supply Joint Stock Company (Viwasupco), the firm which supplied contaminated water to several districts last month, has been fired.

The board of directors dismissed Ton on Monday, and he will no longer act as the company's legal representative either, though he will keep his seat on the board. According to the news source, he had been Viwasupco's general director since 2009.

Ton was the public face of the company's response to the crisis, which lasted for nearly two weeks last month after a huge amount of waste oil was dumped into a stream in Hoa Binh Province that feeds into the Da River. Viwasupco sources its water from the river.

During a press conference on October 14, VnExpress continues, Ton claimed that his company had cleaned the water as soon as the oil was detected, even though safety tests conducted by city officials showed that the water was not safe for use. He also said tests by the company found the water to be safe, in opposition to the city's tests.

The crisis began with the oil dump on October 8, and two days later people living in several districts in southwestern Hanoi began noticing a pungent odor coming from their tap water. It culminated in thousands of people being forced to purchase plastic bottles for daily use, or to wait in line for water from trucks provided by the city.

Viwasupco initially tried to deflect blame and even claimed to be the "biggest victim" of the incident, but two weeks later, it apologized to those impacted by the crisis and offered them free water for a month.

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