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Authorities hunt source of chemical in tap water

2014-02-24 09:49 Global Times Web Editor: Li Yan

Authorities are still investigating the source of a toxic chemical that contaminated the tap water in parts of Chongming county last week, the local government said Sunday.

County residents began calling the water authority around 10 am Thursday to complain about an unidentified odor emanating from their tap water, according to a report in the Oriental Morning Post.

Following a preliminary investigation, the water authority found that the odor might have been caused by the salt tide, which has compromised the quality of tap water across the county recently, according to a post on the microblog of the Chongming County People's Government.

The authority revised its findings Sunday, when it disclosed that it had found a volatile phenolic compound in the tap water, the government said. Exposure to the chemical compound poses a potential health hazard.

The government advised residents in several towns in the county to drink and cook with bottled water instead, the report said. The contamination affected about 100,000 residents in the towns.

Because most factories and plants on Chongming Island don't use the chemical, the water authority has not yet been able to identify its source, the report said.

County firefighters transported more than 60 tons of fresh water on 11 firetrucks to ensure residents had access to fresh water. The firefighters distributed the water for free from nine locations in the county, the report said.

At 9 pm Saturday, the county government announced on its microblog that the contaminated tap water was again safe to use for drinking and cooking.

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