Contaminated water returning to safe level
By Liang Qiwen (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-12-26 05:31
GUANGZHOU: The cadmium toxic slick in Guangdong's Beijiang River is expected
to return to a safe level before it reaches other cities downstream, according
to a report released by the local authority yesterday.
Since measures were launched to disperse the toxic slick in the southern
Chinese province on Friday, the environmental protection watchdogs have dumped
380 tons of chemical dilutant on the toxic slick.
"The cadmium content of the slick dropped 20 per cent on Saturday," Li Zisen,
the chief leader of the watchdog team, said.
It is planned that a total of 1,200 tons of the chemical dilutant will be
dumped on the slick.
Over 54 cubic metres of water are being released per second from Nanshui
Reservoir in Shaoguan, a city upstream from the slick, in an attempt to dilute
the toxic spillage.
The cadmium content of the slick at Nanhua Waterworks near Yingde dropped to
0.012 milligrams per litre on Saturday, a little higher than safety level of
0.01 milligrams per litre, according to tests taken by Guangdong provincial
"The chemical level is expected to return to normal before it reaches
Feilaixia Dam in Qingyuan, more than 100 kilometres downstream from Yingde,"
Zhang Jianjun, spokesman of Qingyuan municipal government, told China Daily
yesterday. The slick is flowing at a speed of 4.5 kilometres per day, he said.
The slick was caused by a spillage of more than 1,000 tons of heavy cadmium
contaminated water from Shaoguan Smelting Plant on December 15. The event caused
huge economic losses with the total direct and indirect loss amounting to 150
million yuan (US$18.75 million).
The director of the Shaoguan plant Zhang Weijian was suspended from office on
Friday for further investigation into the incident.
The other 14 smelting plants in Shaoguan have been closed.
Guangzhou and Foshan, towns downstream from Beijiang, are keeping a close eye
on the slick's developments.
The drinking water emergency measures brought in on Wednesday by the two
cities are still in effect now.
It was reported that Tianhe, one of Guangzhou's 10 districts, stopped its
water supply yesterday afternoon, though this was denied by the government.
"I didn't hear anything about a suspension of the water supply," Lu Shaokun,
spokesman of Guangzhou Garden Bureau, said yesterday.
(China Daily 12/26/2005 page2)