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Archive for Thursday, December 1, 2005

Town shuts off water as toxic slick arrives

December 1, 2005

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— Another town on a poisoned Chinese river shut down its water system Wednesday after Communist Party members went door-to-door giving out bottled water in an effort to show that China's leaders can protect the public from the latest environmental disaster.

Running water to about 26,000 people in Dalianhe, on the outskirts of this northeastern city, stopped at 6 p.m. as a slick of toxic benzene on the Songhua River approached, said an employee who answered the phone at the county government offices.

The government said Yilan itself should not be affected because the city of about 110,000 people gets its water from wells instead of the river.

The benzene arrived a day after Harbin, a major industrial center upstream, declared its water safe to drink after the system supplying 3.8 million people was shut down for five days.

The 50-mile-long slick is making its way toward Russia and is expected to reach the major border city of Khabarovsk on Dec. 10 through 12.

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