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Dam Proposed to Stop Polluting Russian City
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China is considering a Russian proposal to build a temporary dam at the confluence of the Heilong and Wusuli rivers to prevent the water source of a Russian city being contaminated, today's China Daily quoted a local water resources official as saying yesterday.


Khabarovsk, a major city in Russia's Far East, relies heavily on the Wusuli River and is threatened by the toxic spill in the Songhua River, a tributary of the Heilong River, caused by a chemical plant blast on November 13 that released about 100 tons of benzene into it.


Sources at Heilongjiang Provincial Department of Water Resources said building of the dam would start on the Fuyuan waterway, which joins Heilong and Wusuli rivers, to block the flow of the polluted water.


The day before, the Ministry of Water Resources sent an expert panel to Jiamusi to study the possibility of building the dam, one of whom said the shallowness and slow flow at the Fuyuan waterway mean the project could be favorable. 


Also on Tuesday, Wang Wei, vice mayor of Jilin City where the chemical plant explosion took place, was found dead at home.


He was in charge of work safety and environment protection and took part in rescue work after the blast, and had insisted to journalists then that there would be no pollution from it.


The exact reason for his death is unknown; Jilin Provincial Department of Public Security is investigating and local officials refused to comment.


The slick disrupted the lives of millions of residents of cities downstream on the Songhua River and forced Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang Province, to cut its tap water supply for five days.


Sangay Penjor, an Asian Development Bank senior financial analyst, said Wednesday that a new reservoir partly funded by them is expected to provide clean water to Harbin late next year, 18 months ahead of schedule.


(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency December 8, 2005)

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