China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Harbin resumes water supply

Local workers take a sample from Harbin section of the Songhua River in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, Nov. 27, 2005.(Xinhua photo)
HARBIN, Nov. 27 (Xinhuanet) -- Northeast Chinese city of Harbin resumed water supply at 6:00 p.m. Sunday, as Governor of Heilongjiang Province Zhang Zuoji took the first drink after resumption.

At the early period after resumption, the city will supply water intermittently, the government said.

During the peak hours in the morning and evening, the city will ensure a sufficient supply of water, but for other period of time,water supply will be controlled, it said.

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Before the city recovers its full capacity of supplying water normally, the city will place some key sectors as priorities, including household use, enterprises, heating service departments,governmental departments, colleges and universities, hospitals, hotels, restaurants, primary and middle schools, and kindergartens.

While car washing and bathing service agencies are not allowed to use water for the time being, the government said.

The water quality at Sifangtai, the water source site in the upper reach of Harbin section of the Songhua River, has met the national standards from 8:00 p.m. on Saturday and the main pollution slick in the Songhua River has left the section of Harbin Sunday morning, according to local environmental authorities.

The city will launch a three-level warning forecast system of water quality after resumption to ensure public health, the city government said.

In the warning system, "red" means the water is not suitable for drinking nor using, "yellow" means the water is suitable for using but not for drinking, while "green" means that the water meets drinking standards.

The city will publish the water quality over local media to tell its citizens when they can use or drink water, the government said.

Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang Province and city of 3.8 million people, has been forced to shut down its water supply system from the wee hours of Wednesday because of a highly polluted water stretch in the Songhua River, which supplies most of the water to the populous city.

Toxic benzene and nitrobenzene flew into the Songhua River, following a blast with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC)Jilin Petrochemical company, a petrochemical plant in Jilin Province, a close neighbor of Heilongjiang Province, on Nov. 13.

Benzene is a clear, colorless, highly refractive flammable liquid that is derived from petroleum and used in or to manufacture a wide variety of chemical products, including detergents, insecticides and motor fuels

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