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Newly-found Blue Algae in Taihu Lake Not Affecting Local Tap Water

Drinking water has not been affected by the newly-found blue algae bloom in east China's Taihu Lake, local authorities said on Sunday.

A satellite map from China Meteorological Bureau on Friday revealed a large blue algae outbreak in the central-western and northern part of the lake, close to Yixing City and Wujin District of Changzhou City.

"The outbreak has not affected drinking water safety because the algae is found far from the water intakes. The quality of tap water in Wuxi improved on Saturday and Sunday," said Li Jianqiu, a spokesman with Wuxi Utilities Bureau.

The nearby city of Changzhou, which uses the Yangtze River as its water source, has also not been affected, said a government spokesperson.

Continuous rain during the past few days also helped the lake recover, but ecological experts warned the blue algae in Taihu Lake could easily reemerge when the water temperature moves above 30 degrees Celsius. Meteorological departments at state and local levels are closely monitoring the outbreak and the changes of water quality.

The Taihu Lake crisis began late last month, when a low water level in the lake and the accumulation of waste and untreated sewage triggered the rapid growth of blue algae, turning the water putrid and cutting the supply of tap water to Wuxi.

All the towns around Taihu have been ordered to establish sewage treatment plants, and chemical factories will have to meet new water emission standards.

(Xinhua News Agency June 18, 2007)

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