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Chemical Spillage Leads to Water Peril

A chemical spill from an overturned truck is threatening the drinking-water safety of more than 200,000 people in Baise City, southern China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

On Saturday morning, the truck carrying 33.6 tons of crude phenol overturned in neighboring Funing County, Yunnan Province, and spilled the poisonous chemical into the Zhesang River in the upper reaches of the Baise multi-purpose dam.

The chemicals entered into the dam area yesterday morning, said a municipal government official. About 15 kilometers down from the dam is a water intake for 200,000 people in Baise.

The Baise government has ordered more than 1,000 households in Yangyu Town, which might be affected by the chemicals, not to use the water in the upper reaches of the dam. It also has taken measure to ensure drinking-water supplies for residents.

Government workers are busy building a barricade on the river to reduce the pollutants. Rescuers also threw in lime and active carbon to neutralize and absorb the crude phenol, the official said.

Phenol is used in the production of resins, plastics and pharmaceuticals.

(Xinhua News Agency June 10, 2008)

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