China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Khabarovsk unlikely to cut off water supply as benzene sleek nears

KHABAROVSK, December 22 (Itar-Tass) - Russia's far eastern city of Khabarovsk is likely to keep its hot and cold water supply lines working on Thursday afternoon when it will see the front of the incoming benzene sleek - caused by a toxic spill in the Sungari river in China.

The regional commission for emergency situations noted at the previous meeting that the concentration of nitrobenzene does not exceed 0.5 of the maximum permissible value in all sample areas.

No traces of benzene have been found thus far.

Experts estimate that the 90-kilometer stretch of the toxic spill where pollution is at its worst will reach Khabarovsk on Friday. The level of nitrobenzene compounds is unlikely to exceed 0.5 to 0.6 of maximum permissible concentration, because much of the spill has been diluted by Amur tributaries.

The activated coal filters rigged at the main Khabarovsk water intake area, can handle a pollution of up to 2 maximum permissible concentrations.

The benzene sleek will pass Khabarovsk on December 25 and reach the town of Amursk ten days later.

Municipal water intake facilities in southern districts of the city resumed operation on Wednesday evening.

They were turned off because of the threat of pollution through the Kazakevichev channel. The channel was blocked with a 400-meter dam by Wednesday afternoon by Chinese workers, assisted by Russian specialists.

Water supply has been restored in the villages of Krasnaya Rechka and Bychikha. The cutoffs affected some 6,000 residents.

Deputy chairman of the regional emergencies commission Vladimir Popov said the laboratory for monitoring the quality of Amur waters, fielded in the village of Nizhne-Leninskoye, Jewish Autonomous Area, will move to the village of Nergen, Nanai District.

Active monitoring of Amur waters will continue as the benzene spill will move downstream to the Tatar Strait.

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