Sep 12, 2006

Drinking Water in Hunan Province Temporarily Suspended

Dangerously high levels of arsenic were found in the Hunan River, leading to the suspension of drinking water for 80,000 residents of Yueyang County in Central China’s Hunan Province.

After emergency measures, the water is now safe and the taps were turned back on the next day.

According to the People’s Daily Online, investigations showed that the pollution came from the Haoyuan Chemical Plant and the Taolin Lead and Zinc Chemical Plant in Linxiang.

The two plants have been shut down and their managers have been taken into custody, said Pan Yue, the vice-minister of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA).

A Xinhua News Agency told China Daily that the pollution was found during a routine water quality check of the river. During the check the Hunan River was found to have a level of arsenic 10 times higher than official standards.

Pan stated that the two plants Haoyuan and Taolin, discharged five tons and 200 tons of wastewater into the Xinqiang River each month, respectively. The wastewater contained a high concentration of arsenic.

SEPA officials announced that the water quality of Yangtze River has not been affected and residents down stream do not need worry about the drinking water.

SEPA also reported that there have been no reports of poisoning in the Yueyang County.