Dam generators shut down after diesel spill

08:15, January 06, 2010      

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China has suspended power generation at a major Yellow River dam to contain diesel fuel that leaked last week from a pipeline.

Beginning December 30, an estimated 100 tons of diesel fuel spilled into the Wei River, which feeds into the Yellow River, a water source for millions of Chinese.

All six generators at the Sanmenxia power station were shut down late Saturday to hold contaminated water behind the dam and keep it from flowing toward major cities downstream that rely on the river for drinking water.

Built in the 1960s, the Sanmenxia dam now generates 1.2 billion kilowatt hours per year — a fraction of the 19 billion kilowatt hours per year generated by a total of seven power generating dams built along the Yellow River.

Authorities have already told 850,000 people in riverside communities to avoid using the Yellow for drinking or watering livestock.

In a statement issued late Monday, the local Shaanxi provincial government said cleanup measures, including diversion channels, floating dams, and absorbing agents, had so far proven effective in containing the spill.

As of Monday, no oil slick could be seen on the Wei and oil concentration in the river averaged just 0.79 part per million (0.79 milligrams per liter), well within acceptable limits, the statement said.

People's Daily Online – Agencies
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