Fri, Nov 03, 2006 - Page 4 News List

Oil spill adds to pollution woes

AP , BEIJING

Water supplies to 28,000 people in northern China have been cut after an overturned truck spilled 33 tonnes of toxic oil into a river, state media said, in the latest mishap degrading the country's already polluted waterways.

The overloaded truck was carrying wash oil, also known as creosote, when it overturned and dumped its contents into a river in Shanxi Province, Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday.

The spill then flowed into the Yangjiapo Reservoir, contaminating 2 million cubic meters of water, the agency said, citing the provincial environmental bureau.

Supplies to the towns of Dazhai and Sandu in Xiyang County, which the reservoir serves, had been cut, Xinhua said.

Creosote is commonly used to treat wood products and probably causes cancer in humans, according to the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

The spill occurred last Thursday, Xinhua said, but did not say why it was reported a week later.

Cleanup crews were using pumps, tonnes of activated carbon and other materials to absorb the spill of brown oil, the agency reported.

To provide a temporary supply, local authorities were trucking in drinking water to affected residents, and were attempting to connect water pipes to a large well in the nearby village of Mahui, Xinhua said.

Investigations showed the truck overturned because of brake failure, the report said.

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