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Phenol leak blamed for stinky tap water

2014-02-24 16:25 Shanghai Daily Web Editor: Gu Liping

Environment officials in Chongming County yesterday visited factories and farms near a water intake in a bid to locate the source of the phenol found recently in tap water.

The culprit has yet to be identified, so the monitoring of untreated water will continue, the county government said on its official microblog.

The authorities on Thursday began receiving complaints from local residents about the bad smell of their tap water.

The county government on Friday said the odor was due to the infiltration of a salt tide, but on Saturday revised its view, saying it was caused by an excess of phenol in untreated water.

Tests carried out at a water plant in Chenjia Town found the phenol content of the untreated water was 8 milligrams per liter, or four times the national limit.

About 100,000 residents have experienced the contaminated tap water, authorities said, adding that they will continue to investigate the source of the phenol.

On Saturday, 11 fire engines were dispatched to provide clean water to those affected by the pollution. The queue of people stretched more than 100 meters, as families sought to fill every available bucket, bowl and kettle. Supermarkets quickly sold out of bottled water, while some locals even resorted to opening up old wells.

The government said the water was back to drinking standard by Saturday night, adding that affected households will be paid compensation equivalent to the cost of five tons of water.

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