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Officials monitor reservoir risk, but say water safe

MODERATE levels of water eutrophication have been spotted at Shanghai Qingcaosha Reservoir, a major tap water source for residents, with the presence of too much nitrogen and phosphorus posing a risk of harmful growth of algae.

City water authorities said the compounds found at the mouth of Yangtze River come mainly from upstream.

An official with Shanghai water authority said yesterday that they have noticed the problem but ensured the safety of drinking water from the reservoir.

"Water quality will not be affected after purification processes," said the official, who declined to be named.

Eutrophication happens when bodies of water bodies receive excess nutrients that cause rapid plant growth, which if bad enough can lead to growth of algae that can turn water black and foul-smelling.

No large-scale algae blooms have been seen at the reservoir, officials said.

Authorities were alerted to the threat after an investigation by the city's top political advisory body, which checked local water quality monitoring locations.

The big reservoir, northeast of the city, provides water to more than 13 million Shanghai residents in urban areas and other parts of Pudong, Minhang, Baoshan and Qingpu districts. It is considered the cleanest source for tap water. The city is also building another water reservoir on Chongming Island close to the current one.

The reservoir is threatened mainly by chemical plants along the Yangtze, despite the closure of some plants last year.

The local environmental administration has set up five regular monitoring places at the mouth of Yangtze, with 13 other spots for periodic sample-collection.

Members of the city advisory body suggested adding more monitor spots around the reservoir to evaluate pollutants entering the reservoir and their influence on water quality.


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