Rajah & Tann Regional Round-Up
your snapshot of key legal developments in Asia
Issue 1 - Jan/Feb/Mar 2021

Lao Government Issues Decision on Management and Monitoring, Treatment, Disposal of PCBs in the Transformer

On 30 December 2020, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Lao PDR ("MoNRE") issued Decision No.5925/MONRE on the Management and Monitoring, Treatment, Disposal of Polychlorinated Biphenyls ("PCBs") in the Transformer ("Decision"). The Decision sets out the principles, rules, and measures relating to the management and monitoring, treatment, and disposal of PCBs in the transformer and PCBs-contaminated wastes. The Decision applies to individuals, entities, or both domestic and foreign organisations conducting their business activities in Lao PDR.

MoNRE is in charge of conducting a survey of PCBs in the transformer and registering the same in the database. The Department of Natural Resources and Environment ("DoNRE") at the provincial level, in coordination with the relevant Departments/agencies, perform and carry out the survey and registration of PCBs in the transformer within its own areas, followed by a reporting to the administrative bodies at the province and Vientiane Capital. The Department of Pollution Control and Monitoring collects data across the nation, compiles the data of registered PCBs, and reports the same to MoNRE.

The owner of a transformer with PCBs or PCBs-contaminated wastes shall keep the transformer and associated wastes under the following conditions:

  1. The storage site must be safe and the warehouse must be designed following the technical standards in order to prevent the leakage of PCBs chemical agents into the environment. The warehouse must be a closed space with concrete floor, with a drainage system and a fence to prevent access of unauthorised individuals and animals.

  2. The location must have a distance of at least one kilometre from the communities, schools, hospitals, sources of water, and food production sites.

  3. The storage site shall have warning and prohibition signs at the entrance-exit.

  4. The container or packaging shall have a label and warning sign (in writing or illustration) indicating the hazard posed by the PCBs. The wording shall be in Lao and English.

In addition, the owner must report the status and conditions of the storage site to DoNRE, the Department of Energy and Mines, and the Department of Industry and Commerce every six months for inspection. In case of chemical leakage, spill, or emergency incident, the owner must take the necessary measures to prevent initial impact and at the same time report the incident to the local and central government.

In transporting transformers with PCBs or PCBs-contaminated wastes, the transporter must ensure the safety of the people, property, environment, and society. A warning sign in red character with words "Danger – Hazardous Substances" and a big red skull symbol must be placed at the front and rear side of the vehicle transporting these transformers with PCBs or PCBs-contaminated wastes.

The treatment and disposal facility of PCBs in the transformer shall be conducted at a place which is distant from communities or water resources. It must be conducted by an authorised service provider. The individuals, entities, or organisations intending to provide the services of treatment and disposal of PCBs and PCBs-contaminated wastes must obtain a business license from the Industry and Commerce Sector to be able to liaise with the Natural Resources and Environment Sector.

Please note that whilst the information in this Update is correct to the best of our knowledge and belief at the time of writing, it is only intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and should not be treated as a substitute for specific professional advice.


Rajah & Tann (Laos) Co., Ltd
Anou Village,
Samsenthai Road, Unit 17,
Chanthabouly District,
Vientiane Capital, Lao PDR.


Lee Hock Chye
Managing Partner
D +603 2273 1919
F +603 2273 8310

Khanti Syackhaphom
Legal Advisor
D +856 21 454 239
F +856 21 285 261

Desmond Wee
D +65 62320474

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