Chinese water utility plants return to Xin'an river as pollution clears

07 June 2011 09:48  [Source: ICIS news]

SHANGHAI (ICIS)--Five water utility plants at China’s eastern Zhejiang province have resumed drawing water from Xin’an river which was polluted by a chemical spill on 4 June, an environmental protection bureau said on Tuesday.

The water from these five collection areas along the river was declared safe for consumption on 6 June. The five water utilities have also restarted their water supply, Hangzhou Environmental Protection Bureau said in a statement on its website.

The plants are located at Fuyang and Tonglu, two county-level regions in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang.

On 4 June, a tank truck loaded with 31 tonnes of phenol collided with another truck along an expressway. Around 20 tonnes of the chemical were swept into the nearby Xin’an river by heavy rain, the bureau said.

The Xin'an river, which feeds into the Fuchun and Qiantang rivers, is the main source of drinking water for several cities in Zhejiang, including Hangzhou, China Daily reported.

The water supply to at least 552,200 people was affected after the five utilities ceased collecting water from the polluted river, the bureau’s statement added.

Following the accident, the Xin'an river dam has been running at full capacity and discharging water at a rate of 1,239cbm (cubic metres) per second from its usual rate of 268cbm per second. The rate was increased to dilute the toxicity caused by the phenol spill, the statement said.

The bureau is closely monitoring the water quality as the phenol concentration at the accident site on 7 June is around 500 times higher than the level permitted for safe consumption, the bureau said.

The highest concentration of phenol allowed at the water-collection areas is 0.005mg per litre, according to the bureau.

Phenol is used mainly for conversion into plastics or related materials.

For more on phenol, visit ICIS chemical intelligence



By: Judith Wang
+65 6780 4359

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