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Toxic leak causes water pollution
( 2001-06-26 11:46 ) (1 )

The pollution of about 40 acres of a lake in the city's Gaochun County, 80 kilometres to the south of Nanjing, where is the only source of drinking water for 500,000 local residents, was found to have been caused by a toxic chemical leak.

According to Xue Lequn, magistrate of the county, toxic water containing cyanide was discharged last week into the Gucheng Lake from a nearby branch of the Nanjing Sun Group, also called Nanjing No 1 Farm Chemical Corp.

The Sun Group, a listed company on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, suspended its production earlier. But workers left hundreds of boxes of toxic cyanide piling on the company's property, which leaked after heavy rain dampened the boxes.

The cyanide level in the lake was three times the normal level, a fishery bureau report said.

The lake is the only source of drinking water for the 500,000 residents in Gaochun County of Nanjing, capital of East China's Jiangsu Province, according to local environmental protection authorities.

Some local residents said they have been drinking bottled purified water since last week.

According to researchers at the Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology of Chinese Academy of Sciences, water in the lake flows first into a river in East China's Anhui Province and then into the Yangtze River.

The Gaochun County, which is applying to be listed as an ecological model in China, is to be inspected today by officials from the central and provincial governments.

The pollution was first discovered when about 70,000 kilograms of fish died last week and two local residents reported illness after drinking water from the lake.

Local fish breeders, who claimed to have lost at least 300,000 yuan (US$36,200) in the incident, will be partly compensated by the Sun Group, according to local environmental protection authorities.

The Sun Group compensated fish breeders in 1999 after a cyanide leak took place.

No one from the company was available for comment.



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