Taps turned on again in Shuyang

By Cao Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-07-05 06:49

SHANGHAI: Water supply to more than 200,000 people in Shuyang County, Jiangsu Province, resumed yesterday after a 40-hour shutdown.

The shutdown was caused by severe pollution to the Xinyi River.

The Shuyang Water Company resumed supply at 10:45 am yesterday after sample tests proved that water from the Xinyi River and at the plant met standard requirements, according to a county government employee who declined to be named.

He said water was channeled from nearby Hongze Lake to dilute the polluted river.

"The water plant started pumping this morning after tests found that dilution had effectively lowered the ammonia and azote content," he said.

He said pollution of the Xinyi was not caused by local factories, but by those situated in the upper reaches of the river that originates in Shandong Province.

Water in the county became yellowish and smelly on Monday afternoon and supply was cut off to residents at 3pm that day, the Xinhua News Agency said.

Li Jinping, a resident, said the water was smelly. Tests revealed the content of ammonia and azota was three times over the limit for potable water.

Yang Wei, an official with the environment protection department of Jiangsu Province, said they were still investigating the source of the pollutants.

"It could be factories in Xuzhou or the Shandong side of the Xinyi River," he said.

Shuyang had been supplying the county with water from 33 unpolluted wells in the past two days.

According to an employee of the Shuyang Water Company, surnamed Zhong, well water could not be pumped beyond the second floor of buildings.

"Residents of high-rise buildings had to go down to the streets to collect water," she said.

This was the second time the province has been hit by pollution.

On May 29, water in Wuxi began to smell because of blue-green algae that engulfed Taihu Lake. Half of its 2.3 million population was affected.

Bottled water in stores ran out of stock and residents had rush to nearby cities to buy water.

A relatively warm winter and industrial waste, was blamed for the algae. Water supply was restored a week later.

Pan Yue, deputy chief of the State Environmental Protection Administration, said on Tuesday some officials who worked with local businesses to seek profits, had ignored damage to the environment and resources.

"Unless these officials are punished, we will not see improvements," he said.

"These officials will not be intimidated unless environmental issues are included in their performance record."

(China Daily 07/05/2007 page3)

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