11.09.07 11:24 Age: 10 yrs

Dispute over sewer system for Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Czech: the auto manufacturer has yielded only partially. It refuses to use most modern technologies, although it so promises.

Hyundai

 

Hyundai refuses to use the available technology for rain sewers even despite of its public commitment to use “most modern technologies” in plant development as well as the EIA condition standpoint and commitments derived from Declaration of Understanding. On top of this the irresponsible approach was made possible by the Water Regulation Authority in Frýdek-Místek along with the Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic.

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Czech, s.r.o. (hereinafter Hyundai) in May of this year has initiated the construction of the piping for rain sewers in contradiction with the Building Act.[1] The automobile manufacturer has placed concrete centering into the ground, which according to the lawyers from the GARDE program – Global Alliance for Responsibility, Democracy and Equity – (hereinafter GARDE – EPS), who publically pointed out the illegal actions taken by Hyundai, did not meet the requirements for protection of ground and water according to the position of EIA published by the Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic (MŽP).[2] Based on the agreement by all signatories of the Declaration of Understanding there were three expert evaluations prepared regarding the sewer technology and from those it was clearly evident that concrete centering cannot be used. Luckily Hyundai has yielded from using concrete, nonetheless it has interpreted other conclusions of the studies in its favor and it has proposed a lesser quality plastic piping with rubber centering for the rain sewers.

GARDE – EPS has therefore expressed its disagreement of the automobile manufacturer proposal for further actions lying in the drafting of an independent evaluation, because none of the three evaluations proposed any conclusion regarding whether the rubber bonds can or cannot be used with rain sewers. On top of that it pointed out that the Moravia-Silesia Region without any problems respects the EIA’s position in the development of the Nošovice Industrial Zone and uses the mains with a welded bond. However, in its final statement, Hyundai has rejected the proposals by GARDE – EPS. Automobile manufacturer therefore stated that it does not see any space to reach an absolute agreement and since any further delay from its side is unacceptable, it has informed the Declaration signatories that its proposals to modify the sewer technology were already approved by the Municipal Council of Frýdek-Místek as the Water Regulation Authority through the entry in the construction log. The Authority has therefore clearly failed its function as the protector of public interest, because it agreed with the change of technology even though Hyundai does not possess sufficient proof that the lower cost and worse technology, which it used in the end, actually complies with the conditions of EIA position. (You can find the complete communication between GARDE – EPS and Hyundai at http://www.responsibility.cz/index.php?id=369. - in Czech only)

Hyundai maybe backed away from using concrete centering, but GARDE – EPS however does not perceive its action as positive. The Attorney Pavel Franc comments this: “Hyundai attempts to avoid its obligations derived from the Declaration. In addition, according to our opinion, it deceives consumer, when on its website it claims that in constructing its plant it shall use the most modern technologies, which in actuality it does not do. Hyundai’s reaction to our last proposals does not show good manners. We have good reason to doubt the respectability of Hyundai as a partner, who cares about the rigorous fulfillment of agreement – Declaration of Understanding.”

His colleague Jiří Nezhyba adds to this: “If Hyundai rushes and intends to save costs for a less expensive technology, then it should openly declare that it prefers its economic interests and does not try to instead publically present itself as a company, which puts environment in first place. That much more regrettable are the actions of the public administration authorities – in this case especially the Water Regulation Authority in Frýdek-Místek, which has failed its role as the defender of public interest and has thus allowed the irresponsible behavior by Hyundai.”

To clarify we state a recap of the rain sewer technology for Hyundai case by dates:

1. On 26. 4. 2007 Hyundai declared that it performed certain modifications as part of the “construction site establishment” with the Construction Authority in Dobrá.


2. On 9. 5. 2007 the automobile manufacturer them initiated the placement of concrete piping. However, the Building Code forbids performing any construction activity until it obtains a consent from the Building Authority. The Building Authority has 40 days to make this decision. Hyundai therefore has ignored the legal restriction and performed construction activities in contradiction with the Law.


3. On 11. 5. 2007 the Building Authority in Dobrá has forbade the performance of this construction according to Sec 107 par 2 of the Building Code by the ruling case no. SÚ 479.2/2007-330/Ko.


4. On 15. 5. 2007 GARDE-EPS discovered the encumbrance of the Law in constructing the rain sewers and as a result issues the following press release “Hyundai in Nošovice is building illegally, it breaches its obligations derived from the Declaration of Understanding as well as the public promise it has made.”


5. On the same day, 15.5.2007, Hyundai based on the filing of GARDE – EPS stops construction work. In addition, it claims in its press release that this has occurred as a “sign of accommodating and willingness to negotiate regarding the points of dispute and to try and find mutually acceptable solutions,” once Hyundai decided –“on the immediate stoppage of construction work on the disputed section of rain sewers until it receives an expert evaluation and decisions regarding further actions” However, in its press release Hyundai “resolutely denies all accusation by EPS regarding the breaching of the Laws of the Czech Republic in construction of the rain sewers”


6. On 23. 5. 2007 a ban on performing the construction was delivered to Hyundai issued on 11.5. 2007. However, afore stated has nothing to do with the fact that on 9.5. 2007 it had no right to build at all and therefore could not have been in good faith that it can continue with construction.


7. On the same day, 23. 5. 2007, a meeting of all Declaration of Understanding signatories took place in Ostrava regarding its fulfillment. At this meeting Hyundai representative promises to deliver all documentation relative to this issue of rain sewers proving that the automobile manufacturer has proceeded in accordance with the law. It was decided at the meeting, among other things, that the CzechInvest Agency will order the preparation of three expert evaluations regarding the sewer technology relative to the compliance with the position of EIA.


8. On 24. 5. 2007 GARDE-EPS received from Hyundai the documentation regarding the rain sewers, although the file is missing a very important document: the ban of construction performance from 11. 5. 2007 delivered to Hyundai on 23.5. 2007


9. On 4. 6. 2007 GARDE-EPS issues another press release “Automobile manufacturer Hyundai publically lied about the sewer construction. It has initiated it even though the Building Authority has forbidden it.”


10. In reaction to this on 4. 6. 2007 Hyundai again denies the accusations of lying, while in contradiction with its claim from 15. 5. 2007 it newly states that the automobile manufacturer itself stopped the installation of pipings already on 14. 5. 2007 for “the reason of suspicion of its quality.”


11. On 6. 6. 2007 GARDE-EPS publishes so far a last press release “Automobile manufacturer Hyundai was building illegally. It misinforms the public in an effort to cover this fact.”


12. In reaction to this on 6. 6. 2007 Hyundai states that “we provide information openly and transparently not only to the media, but especially to EPS and other partners.”


13. On 1. 7. 2007 CzechInvest sent its Summary Report Regarding Expert Evaluations and to this it has attached the three evaluations. From the evaluations it is clearly evident that the concrete sewers cannot be used.


14. On 16. 7. 2007 GARDE – EPS issued its Position on Conclusions of the Summary Report and Expert Evaluations, while it has emphasized that according to the evaluations the use of welded bonding with the piping from PP and PE ensures a higher environmental protection in comparison with other types of bonding. According to GARDE – EPS opinion the condition of the EIA position regarding the welded piping expresses a standard, which should be observed every time.


15. On 23. 7. 2007 the automobile manufacturer then expresses its opinion regarding the evaluations and the positions of CzechInvest and GARDE – EPS relative to the sewers stating that it is preparing a cooperation with a an architect a brief description of designing the various parts of sewerage, which will include data reflecting the relevant geological, hydro geological, mechanical and chemical properties of transferred liquids, piping and environment, in which it will be stored.


16. Following this on 30. 7. 2007 Hyundai has sent to the Declaration of Understanding signatories a Technical design of HMMC sewers and a detailed Design of piping materials, where for waste sewers it has proposed to use plastic piping with welded bonding through an electro welding ring, nonetheless for the rain sewers it proposed to use the technology of plastic piping bonded by the lower quality rubber ring.


17. In reaction to afore stated GARDE EPS on 15. 8. 2007 has sent to the automobile manufacturer its position to the Design of sewer piping material , when it has expressed its dissatisfaction  over the fact that Hyundai does not intend to comply with the conditions of EIA position – which according to the legal opinion of GARDE – EPS states a welded bond as a standard - and to use a technology, which according to the proposal of Hyundai was approved by the Water Regulation Authority.[3] GARDE – EPS then expressed it disagreement with the automobile manufacturer’s proposal, insisted on its interpretation of EIA condition, while it proposed further actions in this matter in the form of ordering an independent evaluation.

 

18. On 27. 8. 2007 has then Hyundai issued its final statement regarding the issue of sewer systems, where it has dismissed the GARDE – EPS proposals as unnecessary. Automobile manufacturer stated that it does not see any room for reaching an absolute agreement and notified the Declaration of Understanding signatories that its proposal to change sewer technology has already been approved by the Municipal Council of Frýdek–Místek as the Water Regulation Authority.

 

As part of the effort for maximum transparency, we are publishing all documents regarding the communication between GARDE – EPS & Hyundai or CzechInvest at: http://www.responsibility.cz/index.php?id=369  (in Czech only) see the Hyundai case description in English: http://www.responsibility.cz/index.php?id=176

 

Footnotes:

[1] see EURO from 6. 6. 2007: "Hyundai breached a law at its construction site in Nošovice ", author: Karel Zaoral, or Právo from 7. 6. 2007: „Hyundai admits that the law has not been observed in the sewer construction “, author: Anna Bortlíčková.    

 

On 11. 5.  2007 the Building Authority in Dobrá has forbidden the performance of the rain sewer construction according to Sec. 107 par 2 of the Building Code with a decision file no. SÚ 479.2/2007-330/Ko. This decision was delivered to Hyundai on 23.5. 2007.

 

[2] EIA position issued for Hyundai by the Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic includes the following request: “For draining technological, rain and waste waters such system is to be used, which will not impact soil, underground and surface waters (e.g. welded bonding system).”

 

[3] After the cited condition from the EIA Position was accepted into the zoning ruling for Hyundai, e automobile manufacturer then in its project documentation for the building permit proposed to use plastic piping with an electro welding ring. The use of this technology was for Hyundai approved by the decision of the Municipal Council of Frýdek-Místek issued on 30-5. 2007 under file no. OŽPaZ/8164-7/2006/2007/Str/231.2.