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Fish, groundwater in Songhua River safe
Updated: 2006-01-24 15:35

China said Tuesday follow-up tests following a chemical spill in a river in the northeast part of the country in November have shown that fish from the river are safe to eat and water supplies are drinkable.

Fish, groundwater in Songhua River safe
Polluted water in Songhua River reaches Harbin, the capital of northeastern Heilongjiang province November 24, 2005. [Reuters]

Interim findings of the impact assessment of pollution in the Songhua River revealed that nitrobenzene concentration in fish meet the permissible standard, Zhou Shengxian, the State Environmental Protection Administration minister, said at a press conference.

Monitoring at wells also showed no nitrobenzene in many of them, and while trace amounts were found in some wells, it was within the permissible standard, according to Zhou.

The research also found that only a small amount of nitrobenzene has been frozen in ice and the amount of the substance in the riverbed is also limited, leading experts to believe that spring thawing will not contaminate the water to an impermissible level, Zhou added.

A factory explosion in Jilin in November sent carcinogenic benzene and nitrobenzene down the river toward Russia, disrupting the water supplies of cities along the way.

Zhou's predecessor had quit over the chemical spill, and China has provided assistance to Russia in detecting and mitigating the pollution there.

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