Image credit: AP Photo
Pollution from a broken oil pipeline in Shaanxi province, China, has been detected in the Yellow River, a major waterway responsible for supplying the central part of the country with water for drinking and irrigation.
The pipeline, which was damaged on December 31, 2009, has been leaking diesel fuel into the Chisui River and Wei River, tributaries of the Yellow. An estimated 40,000 gallons were spilled and, though crews have been working through the weekend to contain the pollution, a recent test found fuel particles downstream.
Though only "trace amounts" have been detected in the Yellow River, citizens in the effected area have been warned to avoid using water from the region. So far, particles have been detected within 124 miles of Zhengzhou, a city of more than seven million people.
The oil pipeline, which transports diesel from the northwest to central parts of the country, is operated by the China National Petroleum Corporation, a state-owned oil giant and the parent company of PetroChina. Xinhua, China's state news agency, has reported that the pipeline was damaged during construction.
Reportedly, a crew of 700 people has nearly contained or removed contaminated water and silt thanks to the use of floating dams, solidifying agents, and a cold snap in the region.
Read more about pollution in China:
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The Price of China's Pollution, and Its Environmental Catch-22