Liquid spill pollutes river

Updated: 2011-12-23 10:36

By Tan Zongyang (China Daily)

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FUZHOU - A chemical spill in Fuzhou put the largest river in Fujian province into a contamination crisis that was brought under control by Thursday.

Chinalco Ruimin Co, a manufacturer of aluminum products in the city's Mawei district, rallied a rescue team by the Minjiang River to clean the water for the fourth straight day. Oil-like contaminants could still be seen near the riverside.

Liquid spill pollutes river 

Workers clean a liquid pollutant from the Minjiang River in Fujian province on Thursday. The liquid leaked from the Chinalco Ruimin Co in the provincial capital Fuzhou on Monday, and the company has been taking measures to minimize the pollution. [Photo/Xinhua]

The greasy dirt - an emulsion - is a waste liquid that helped the company to produce its major products, aluminum sheet and strip, and can be used for soda cans or medicine packaging foil.

According to a statement issued by the company, the chemicals unexpectedly leaked from pipes that channel the waste to an underground pool on Monday morning due to a glitch at its recycling facility. The emulsion poured onto the ground and then into the rainwater pipe that is linked to the sewage system. From there, it flowed into the river.

Local environmental administrations said the leakage has polluted 2 square kilometers of the lower reaches of the river with excessive mineral oils.

The emulsion, floating on the water surface like oil spills, is estimated to be more than 200 liters, according to a Wednesday report by the local Southeast Express newspaper.

The report also said residents worried that the chemical leak might poison a drinking water source only 6 miles from the leakage point.

Although no black belt of contamination was visible on the water surface by 2 pm on Thursday, workers were still hustling to clean small oil seepages from the water near the riverbank. Black oil stains were left on the stones along the river's edge, near where a couple of white egrets could occasionally be seen walking.

"We are racing against time for a remedy," said Xie Hanqing, an employee of the company who is in charge of the on-site cleanup.

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