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May 19, 2010

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Pipes carried dirty tap water

A CONCRETE mixing plant in Chongming Island yesterday promised to switch all the tap-water pipelines this week for villagers who got sick after the plant poured wastes into the pipelines and polluted the tap water.

More than 300 people, living in 100 families, in Chenguang Villiage, Chenjia Town on Chongming Island experienced stomach aches and diarrhea after drinking the polluted tap water for over a month.

The residents said they had been drinking the unclean water since the end of March, and their illnesses were probably due to the tiny particles of sand and clay that can be seen clearly in the water.

About 90 villagers - about 30 percent of the overall village population - are suffering from severe stomach problems or diarrhea that have sent some to the hospital, according to Yin Beifeng, vice director of the Chenguang Village committee.

Yin said the pollution was caused by the concrete plant, which poured wastes into a pond that directly connected with the tap-water pipelines going to people's homes.

He said the plant set up a plan to spend about 400,000 yuan (US$58,500) to switch all the pipelines, cover medical expenses and compensate the villagers. No penalties have been leveled against the plant.

Some villagers found a lot of dead fish floating atop the pond at the concrete mixing plant. The pond was mainly used to wash the mixer truck.

"So we have been drinking the water from a sewage pool for over one month!" said a villager.

Huang Zheng, an official with the Chenjia Town tap water plant, said the plan has been underway since last week and construction was expected to be finished today or tomorrow.

Huang said during the construction period, each family will receive 300 liters of purified water for everyday use. But many villagers complained that the supply was insufficient, forcing them to fetch water from wells every day.

The concrete mixing plant belongs to Shanghai Urban Construction Group and was set up six months ago.

The plant was used for the construction of a bridge connecting Chongming and Qidong in Jiangsu Province, and the construction is due to finish in 2012.


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