By Bloomberg News – Jan 30, 2012 12:12 AM GMT+0000
A section of cadmium-tainted water in a river in southern China’s Guangxi province is approaching the city of Liuzhou, home to 1.5 million permanent residents, the official Xinhua News Agency reported late yesterday.
As of noon yesterday, tests on water 56 kilometers away from the Hexi water plant in Liuzhou showed cadmium levels were eight times higher than the official limit of 0.005 milligrams per liter, Xinhua reported. Tests of water located 16 kilometers from the Hexi water plant showed levels below the limit at 0.0041 milligrams per liter, according to the report. Water within a 16 kilometer radius of the plant is considered “vital” for water supply safety, Xinhua reported.
The tests show that the pollutants are approaching, Xinhua reported, citing Gan Jinglin, Liuzhou’s environment chief. It’s unknown when the concentration of cadmium in the water will peak or how high it’ll be, Xinhua cited Gan as saying.
Cadmium is an “extremely toxic” metal found in industrial workplaces, especially those where ore is being processed or smelted, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
The pollution in Guangxi’s Longjiang river, first detected Jan. 15, has killed fish and prompted “panic buying” of bottled water over the past week, Xinhua reported. Local authorities put “hundreds of tons” of neutralizers made from dissolved aluminum chloride into the river to dissolve the cadmium, according to the report.
The section of polluted water has been flowing downstream on the Longjiang river to the Liujiang river, Xinhua reported. The Longjiang is a tributary of the Liujiang, it said.
All seven heavy metal production plants located upstream have suspended operation in order to curb potential sources of pollution. A plant owned by Guangxi Jinhe Mining Co. is one of the suspected sources of the pollution because it’s dumping site doesn’t meet national standards, Xinhua reported. Further investigation is being conducted, according to the report.
Authorities said yesterday that no new leaks of cadmium were found upstream, Xinhua reported.