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Suzhou Algae Outbreak Said to Be Under Control
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The algae outbreak in the major waterways of Suzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province, has largely been cleaned up and it will not have any impact on the tap water supply, the local water authority said yesterday.

The hot and dry weather since late June had contributed to the outbreak, an official said.

"Our department has been stepping up efforts to pump more fresh water into the waterways to dilute the contamination," Xia Yonglian, an official with the city's waterway administration, said.

The outbreak will not affect the tap water supply, he said, as that is not sourced from the waterways.

Cleanup efforts combined with a recent downpour mean the algae has been "largely cleared up in the city's major waterways", Xia said.

In addition, authorities have dispatched more than 100 boats to clear the remaining blue algae, he said.

A local newspaper said Suzhou had suffered algae outbreaks before, but not on this scale.

A second water official, who asked not to be named, said the outbreak was also partly caused by the inflow of algae-contaminated water from Taihu Lake.

The country's third-largest freshwater lake was hit by a large-scale algae outbreak in June, which led to the contamination of the tap water supply to Wuxi.

The provincial government has since vowed to shut down more than 2,100 polluting factories before the end of next year as part of their efforts to clean up the lake.

The companies are mostly involved in the chemical, metallurgy, printing, dyeing, paper making and electroplating industries, the Xinhua News Agency said.

According to a plan released on Saturday, Jiangsu water authorities will eliminate all lake algae outbreaks within five years.

The provincial Party Secretary Li Yuanchao said the "strictest rules" would be adopted to fight environmental pollution.

In addition to the Taihu Lake outbreak, Jiangsu Province has been hit by several other algae-induced water pollution scares.

Last week, the water supply in Shuyang was cut off for 40 hours after it was found to have a yellow tinge and a bad smell.

(China Daily July 12, 2007)

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