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Chlorine leakage injures 70 in Jiangsu
By Xin Dingding (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-08-13 01:39

People living near a water works suffered from a chlorine leak twice in a single day in Jintan, in East China's Jiangsu Province.

More than 70 residents were rushed to hospital by Thursday afternoon, with symptoms such as coughing and being unable to breath.

Fortunately, no deaths have been reported so far, but six residents have been hospitalized for further treatment and observation, said a doctor from Jintan People's Hospital.

"The patients are stable now. There are no serious cases, and they won't suffer any after-effects from the poisoning," he said.

The leaks took place at 10 am and 7 pm on Wednesday, with the leak in the evening lasting for several minutes, said Huang Luping, a senior member of staff at the water works.

Huang blamed the two leaks on one tank containing liquid chlorine.

"The tank had a stuck valve, so workers fitted a new one in the morning. During the process, a little chlorine had leaked out, which caused the leakage around 10 am," he said.

After the valve was changed, the workers found chlorine began to leak from the tank. To avoid any harm being done, they put the tank in a pool and poured in limewater to neutralize the poisoning gas, Huang said.

He said that chlorine leaks are normally solved in this way.

The tank was removed from the pool during the afternoon when workers believed there was no more liquid chlorine in the tank.

But there may still have been some liquid chlorine in the tank, he said.

"By this time, the valve had been eroded by the acid produced by the chlorine and water, so chlorine leaked out for three to four minutes around 7 pm," he said.

Huang said there had been no chlorine leaks there before.

The water works is now developing a plan in order to responding to future emergencies.

The water works would pay for all medical treatment resulting from the leak, he added.

Earlier, a chlorine leakage Tuesday poisoned more than 40 people in East China's Shanghai Municipality.

The chlorine leakage accident occurred at around 12:50 pm at the Gaoqiao Petrochemical Company under the China Petro-Chemical Corporation in Pudong new district of Shanghai. Workers were unloading a tanker carrying liquid chlorine when the metal hose broke. The 200 kilograms of liquid chlorine evaporated and was blown south with the wind.

The victims include workers and local residents in surrounding areas. All injured were sent to the No 7 People's Hospital immediately for medical monitoring. The 13 still hospitalized include four children.

Ten-year-old Wu Qin, the daughter of an employee of the factory,is one of the victims. Wu said she was playing outside her home when she suddenly smelled the pungent gas. She said her throat and abdomen hurt and was sent to hospital.But she returned home in time to eat dinner with her family.

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