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Oil Spill Threatens Water Supply Sources

The clean-up of the oil that leaked from a cargo ship on the Huangpu River the day before yesterday will take some time and the effects of the spill will be felt for one or two years, as the dykes and wetland along the river have also been contaminated, according to the Shanghai Maritime Authority.


At 4:50 am on August 5, the fuel tank of the anchored vessel Changyang, operated by the China Shipping Group, reported being rammed by an unidentified boat, near Wujing in the Minhang District.


The collision put a big hole in the fuel tank of the ship, resulting in 85 tons of fuel being spilled into the waters of the upper reaches of the river, where there are 13 water supply stations serving both industrial and residential users.


An area of 150,000 square meters of water and land has been polluted, making it the most serious accident on the river since 1996 when several barrels of sulfuric acid fell into the water and later were fished out intact, according to Zhou Zhengbao, a spokesman for the Shanghai Maritime Authority, which is responsible for safety issues on the water.


Though oil spill professionals were called to the site immediately to prevent the spread of the spill and huge quantities of oil have been removed, the spread of the spill along a more than 10-kilometer-stretch of water still poses a serious problem for authorities.


(China Daily August 7, 2003)

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