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January 6, 2010

Floating dams used to contain oil spill in China

BEIJING

Workers in northern China dug diversion channels and used floating dams and solidifying agents to try to stop a diesel fuel leak that has polluted a large stretch of one waterway from flowing into the Yellow River, the water source for millions of Chinese.

More than 700 workers worked to contain a spill over the weekend that leaked from a pipeline into the Wei River in Shaanxi province following a construction accident.

Workers laid a total of 17 floating dams across the Wei to contain the leakage, and specialized chemicals were being spread to solidify the fuel and speed cleanup, according to a news release from the environmental protection bureau in the city of Weihai where the leak occurred.

Workers also dug diversion trenches opposite the site of the leakage to prevent accumulated fuel flowing downstream, the bureau said.

The pipeline’s owner, China National Petroleum Corp., said it had plugged the leak in the pipeline and had removed a “large amount” of contaminated water, mud and sand.

A report Saturday from the official Xinhua News Agency put the amount of oil leaked at about 40,000 gallons (150 cubic meters).

Associated Press

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