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Fertilizer firm shut over river sewage discharge

By Wang Qingchu (Shanghai Daily)

14:37, March 29, 2012

PRODUCTION at a fertilizer firm in north China's Shanxi Province was suspended after it illegally discharged sewage into a river and caused crops in 26 nearby villages to fail.

Zhenxing Fertilizer Co Ltd in Wenshui County was ordered to halt production after China Central Television revealed that it released toxic wastes directly into the Wenyu River, polluting it seriously, China News Service reported yesterday.

Environmental inspectors found the company's pipes that pumped wastes into the river. In CCTV's investigation, large amount of black water was seen releasing from the pipes directly into the river. The odor was so irritating that local villagers couldn't keep their eyes open, the CCTV program said.

There used to be plenty of fish and shrimp in the river but now it is completely lifeless, a villager told CCTV.

Not a single grain has been reaped in the 26 villages spanning more than 12,000 hectares since farmers irrigated the farmland with water from the Wenyu River last spring, villagers told CCTV.

However, Zhenxing Fertilizer claimed it processed the wastes according to regulations and all the sewage met quality standards, CCTV reported, quoting Wang Guoqiang, a company manager.

The firm was found to have released toxic pollutants in 2011 and was ordered to suspend its business and conduct a thorough internal investigation, a Wenshui County Environmental Protection Bureau official told CCTV.

The government of Luliang City, which oversees Wenshui, has launched a probe to decide how the company should compensate local villagers for their loss, the report said.

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