From: Reuters
Published August 24, 2006 12:00 AM

China Says Contains Chemical Spill in River

BEIJING — China has contained a chemical spill that threatened water supplies for millions and triggered panic buying of bottled drinking water, state media said on Thursday. The pollution occured in the northeastern province of Jilin in a tributary of the Songhua River, contaminated in November with toxic benzene after a blast at a chemicals plant.

The Mangniu River was polluted with xylidine by a local chemical company, sending a 5-km (3-mile) slick of bubbly, red water downstream, the China Daily said.

The government bought in more than 1,000 soldiers and firefighters to stop the pollution drifting, the newspaper said.

In Harbin, where the November spill cut water supplies to millions, alarmed residents rushed to shops to stock up on bottled water, the newspaper added, though officials assured people there was no problem.

China has experienced a series of industrial accidents that have contaminated rivers.

Earlier this month, a ship carrying more than 200 tonnes of sulphuric acid ran aground near the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, leaking chemicals into an ancient canal.

And in June, a truck carrying coal tar overturned, dumping the load into the Dasha River in the northern province of Shanxi and contaminating water supplies for 50,000 people.

Source: Reuters

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