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Runoff taints city's drinking water source

China Daily, May 14, 2015 Adjust font size:

Guangdong Province has created a task force to tackle a serious water pollution problem after storm runoff contaminated the river that supplies drinking water for about 2 million urban residents in Jieyang.

Heavy rainfall washed garbage and waste along the banks into the upper river starting on Tuesday, leading to excessive amounts of ammonia and nitrogen in the drinking water supply, according to a statement by Jieyang environmental protection bureau.

"Environmental protection agencies and related departments have promised to punish those shown by an investigation to have illegally discharged wastewater into the river," the statement said.

An official from the bureau told China Daily on Wednesday that an investigation is underway.

A city water company executive, who declined to be named, said the company is monitoring the quality of local drinking water.

"We will supply residents only clean water that meets the State's requirements," he said.

Authorities have been urged to divert water to help dilute the contaminated water in the upper reaches of the river.

Meanwhile, measures are being introduced to help curb the pollution, the water executive said.

Chen Fanghong, a local woman, said the water supply was not suspended in the city on Tuesday or Wednesday, when the local river was reported to have been contaminated.

"I think authorities would have introduced effective measures to ensure only clean water was supplied to households," she said. "There is nothing to be afraid of, and residents' everyday lives have not been disrupted in the past two days."

Jieyang, in eastern Guangdong province, has a population of more than 7 million, including 2 million urban residents.