U.S. Water News Online
BEIJING -- Tap water for more than 2 million people in an
eastern Chinese city was turned back on after algae clogged a lake
and polluted the water supply, state media reported.
The water quality for Wuxi city was stable and local health
authorities said it met standards for drinking, Xinhua News Agency
Fast-spreading, foul-smelling blue-green algae smothered Lake Tai,
which supplies water for more than 2 million people in Wuxi, last
month. The incident sparked panic-buying of bottled water.
The algae bloom in Lake Tai, a famous but long-polluted tourist
attraction in Jiangsu province, formed because water levels are at
their lowest in 50 years, leading to excess nutrients in the water,
Tap water for the city was cut off on May 22 when the lake started
to stink because of the algae.
Xinhua said over the weekend the government artificially induced
rainfall and diverted the Yangtze River to flush the lake, making the
The blue-green algae had made even treated water drawn from Lake
Tai unsafe for residents of the industrial city.
Weather experts shot rockets containing silver iodide to seed
clouds, and diversion channels from the Yangtze River were opened up,
Blue-green algae, a plant-like organism, blooms when nutrients
sometimes caused by excessive pollution build up in water. Some algae
can produce dangerous toxins and if ingested can cause vomiting,
respiratory failure and, on rare occasions, death.
The algae bloom marks the latest fallout for China from decades of
breakneck industrialization and lax enforcement of environmental
regulations. Lake Tai, famed for centuries for its beauty, has become
one of the country's most notoriously polluted bodies of water and a
rallying point for an emerging environmental movement.
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