China water contamination affects 2.4m after oil leak

People line up to buy bottled water in Lanzhou on Friday 11 April Queuing up to buy bottled water on Friday - shops are now reported to have sold out

Related Stories

China's biggest oil company has been blamed for water contamination affecting over 2.4 million people in Lanzhou.

State media said the city's environmental protection chief, Yan Zijiang, blamed it on a leak from a pipeline owned by a subsidiary of China National Petroleum Corporation.

The pipeline is now being repaired.

Lanzhou is the capital of north western Gansu province.

Lanzhou Petrochemical Co., is the subsidiary of state-owned CNPC believed to own the affected pipeline.

A man pushes a shopping cart filled with bottled water on Friday 11 April Authorities warned benzene levels were up to 20 times national safety limits

The leak tainted source water for a plant owned by Veolia Water, a joint Sino-French venture and the sole supplier for urban Lanzhou, reported state news agency Xinhua.

It added that authorities have warned that tap water contained up to 200 micrograms per litre of the toxic chemical benzene - 20 times the national safety limit.

The authorities have since said the contamination has returned to safe levels in most areas.

Exposure to benzene, often used in the petrochemical industry, can increase the risk of cancer and other diseases.

Shops are said to have sold out of bottled water.

The scare has once again raised concerns over China's environmental safety record.

Last year, a ruptured oil pipeline caused explosions in the eastern city of Qingdao, killing 62 people. And in January 2012, toxic cadmium and other waste from factories contaminated water supplies serving millions of people in the south western region of Guangxi.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Asia stories


Features & Analysis

  • Signposts showing the US and UK flagsAn ocean apart

    How British misunderstanding of the US is growing

  • Before and after shotsPerfect body

    Just how reliable are 'before and after' photos?

  • Hillary Clinton frowns.Something to hide?

    Hillary's private emails threaten her air of inevitability

  • Mukesh SinghNo remorse

    Delhi bus rapist says victim shouldn't have fought back

Elsewhere on the BBC


  • Former al-Qaeda double agent Aimen DeanHARDtalk Watch

    Islamic State is about revenge says former al-Qaeda member turned spy Aimen Dean

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.