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Pollution cuts off water supply in N China city


10:56, January 06, 2013

SHIJIAZHUANG, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- Contamination in a north Chinese river has led to the water supply in Handan, a city with more than 1 million people in Hebei Province, being cut off since Saturday afternoon.

A statement by the city government said the cut-off was caused by an accident in the neighboring Shanxi Province where industrial pollutants poured into the upper reaches of the Zhanghe River.

A statement from the Shanxi provincial government said a flexible tube rupture at a chemical plant in Changzhi City caused aniline to leak into the Zhuozhang River, the upper reaches of the Zhanghe River, on December 31.

The statement did not tell the amount of the leakage. Aniline is a toxic chemical widely used as precursors in the manufacture of pigments, herbicides and other chemicals.

Authorities in Shanxi said they received the report on Saturday, and that an emergency response had been initiated to stop the leak and clean up the pollutants.

A statement from the Changzhi City said the accident had not caused casualties so far, and that water quality in the Zhuozhang River was improving.

They said cities along the river, including Handan and Anyang City in Henan Province, have been warned to be on alert.

The city of Handan has cut off its water supply from Yuecheng Reservoir located on the river and switched to another underground water source.

Authorities in Handan did not say how many households were affected by the cut-off. Residents in several parts of Handan told Xinhua reporters that the water supply had not resumed on Saturday evening.

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