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Shaanxi Chemical Spill Threatens Water Supply for 100,000
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A chemical spill has left one person dead and another seriously burnt, and has polluted a source of drinking water for 100,000 residents in northwest China's Shaanxi Province, a local official said on Saturday.

A trailer loaded with 25 tons of liquid caustic soda skidded on a slippery road and veered into the upper reaches of the Xuefeng Reservoir in Hancheng City at about 9 PM on Friday, said Duan Xuanmin, director of the Hancheng Environment Protection Bureau. It had reportedly been raining earlier that evening.

One person in the vehicle was killed on the spot and another was seriously burnt, Duan said.

Local government has built a dam at the site, about 5 km away from the reservoir, which is the source of drinking water for about 100,000 local residents, Duan said.

Meanwhile, the government has transported 10 tons of hydrochloric acid from the provincial capital of Xi'an to neutralize the water contaminated by the liquid caustic soda, he said.

So far, a small amount of pollutants has flown into the reservoir, but is not enough to constitute a threat to water quality, which is now being closely watched by technical workers, the official said.

Local government has ordered departments concerned, including environmental protection, health, and water resources, to monitor the water quality of the riverway at several sites and to submit hourly reports.

In addition, the government has issued an urgent notice to people who live along the river, reminding them about the chemical spill and advising them not to use the water.

A spare well has been put into use to provide drinking water. Duan said that water supplies have not been affected much, Duan said.

(Xinhua News Agency August 28, 2006)

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