Operation of a chemical company flushing 2,000 tons of alkaline wastewater into a northwestern river has been ordered to suspend operation pending punishments, the local environmental protection authority announced Thursday.
The spill at the Jintai Chlorine and Alkaline Chemical Company Ltd. in Mizhi County, Yulin City in Shaanxi Province, occurred on late February 4 when three of the company's processing tanks collapsed, discharging some 2,000 tons of alkaline waste into the Wuding River, according to a notice released by the provincial environmental protection bureau.
Several processing tanks had shown signs of leakage ten days before the incident, but the company failed to report it to local environmental protection officials, the bureau said.
The Wuding River was badly polluted, but the spill did not produce much of an impact on the quality of the drinking water, the notice said.
Operation of the chemical firm came to a full stop on Tuesday evening, and environmental protection officials are working at the site for further investigation.
The company will face a penalty in line with Chinese laws and those held responsible for the incident will receive corresponding punishment, the notice said.
(Xinhua News Agency February 17, 2006)