Oil leak blamed for tap water contamination in China

April 14, 2014

A subsidiary of China National Petroleum Corp, the country's largest oil company, is being blamed for an oil leak that contaminated tap water in Gansu's provincial capital Lanzhou on April 11, affecting 2.4 million people, Xinhua reported on April 13.

Crude oil leaked from a Lanzhou Petrochemical pipeline, poisoning the water source for a local water plant and bringing hazardous levels of benzene into the city's tap water, an environmental official said on April 12.

Investigators found crude oil in soil along a duct between two water works owned by Veolia Water, a joint Sino-French venture that is the sole water supplier for urban Lanzhou.

"The channel has been carrying water to Veolia Water's No 1 and No 2 plants for decades. Under this ditch lies Lanzhou Petrochemical's oil pipeline," Yan Zijiang, Lanzhou environmental protection chief, told Xinhua. He said the leak had been located, and repairs are underway.

Copyright: Xinhua, 2014