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Chemical Spill Disrupts Water Supply in Sichuan
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A chemical spill was found to have contaminated a river in a town of Sichuan Province since last Tuesday and has disrupted the water supply of around 20,000 people.


A power plant on the upper reaches of the Yuexi River in Guanyin Town of Sichuan Province polluted the water when more than permitted levels of toxic pollutants were released into a 100 kilometer stretch of water around the city of Yibin.


An official from the environmental protection bureau of Yibin said the amount of fluoride in the Yuexi River was much higher than normal and there were excessive levels of nitrogen and phenol in the water.


The spill was discovered on Tuesday when an employee of the local water supply company noticed water at the intake point had turned yellow.


Residents have been relying on water trucked in from a town over 23 kilometers away. And although the local government pressed six fire trucks into service the supply has not been able to meet demand.


The local government activated an emergency plan -- suspending water supply in Guanyin and trucking in 20 tons of water from another town on Wednesday to provide temporary relief.


Liu could not say what levels of pollutants had gone into the river. An investigation is being carried out.


(China Daily February 20, 2006)


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