29 February 2020

Oil leak blamed for Lanzhou water contamination, paper says

Oil leak from a  pipeline owned by the China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), the country’s largest oil company, is to blame for contaminated drinking water in Lanzhou, capital of southwestern China’s Gansu province, Economic Information Daily reported Monday, citing the local government.

The leak occurred in 1987 and 2002 at an oil pipeline operated by Lanzhou Petrochemical Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of CNPC, causing drinking water pollution in the city and endangering tens of thousands of residents, the report said.

The Lanzhou local government has warned that the city’s tap water supply contains dangerous levels of the toxic chemical benzene, 20 times the national safety limit.

It said it will investigate water supply companies to determine their exposure to the pollutant. 

Among these is Lanzhou Veolia Water Co., majority owned by the city government, with Veolia China, a unit of French firm Veolia Environnement, holding a 45 percent stake.

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