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Chinese struggle to stem leaking fuel

A leaking pipeline threatened to send diesel fuel into the Yellow River, a water source for millions of Chinese. A leaking pipeline threatened to send diesel fuel into the Yellow River, a water source for millions of Chinese. (Associated Press)
Associated Press / January 4, 2010

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BEIJING - Workers in northern China dug diversion channels and used floating dams and solidifying agents to try to stop a diesel fuel leak from reaching the Yellow River, the water source for millions of Chinese.

More than 700 workers worked overnight into yesterday morning to contain a spill that leaked from a pipeline into the Wei River in Shaanxi province after a construction accident Wednesday. A report rom the official Xinhua News Agency put the amount of oil leaked at about 40,000 gallons.

The Wei is a major tributary of the Yellow River, China’s second-longest, whose water quality has deteriorated because of factory discharge and dropping water levels

A Shaanxi provincial government news release said the fuel slick had been contained in the Wei and no threats to sources of water for human or animal use in the Yellow River had been discovered. Earlier reports said that, at its greatest extent, the fuel slick had spread out along a 20-mile stretch of the river.

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.