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China, Russia finish second river test
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Chinese and Russian environmental researchers have wound up the second national-level joint test this year on water quality of their border rivers.

Researchers extracted samples at nine sites along the Ergun, Heilongjiang, Wusuli and Suifen rivers, and Xingkai Lake. They have finished lab analysis based on each country's standards, sources with the State Environment Protection Administration (SEPA) said.

Much data was gathered to determine chemical oxygen demand (COD), heavy metal contents, and pesticides. Scientists tested riverbed mud to determine the water quality in cross-border water bodies.

The two sides have also exchanged statistics and will meet again in the near future to discuss specifics on what work needs to be done on which sections of the rivers.

It is second joint operation this year since China and Russia signed the Joint Monitoring Plan on Border Rivers in 2006, after an explosion at a Chinese chemicals plant sent nitrobenzene and other chemicals into the Songhua River that flows into the Heilongjiang in 2005. The contamination forced Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang in China's northeast, to temporarily stop water supplies to 3.8 million residents. The plan requires both sides to operate the testing program for five years from 2007. The first such test was carried out in June this year. Before the plan, joint river monitoring work had been carried out at lower levels between Heilongjiang Province and Russia's Khabarovsk since 2002.

(Xinhua News Agency October 21, 2007)

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