KHABAROVSK (Far East), December 21 (RIA Novosti, Larisa Dokuchayeva, Anatoly Ilyukhov) - Authorities monitoring the environmental situation on the Amur, the biggest river in Russia's Far East, decided Wednesday not to cut off the water supply in Khabarovsk, a city on the riverbank threatened by the toxic slick approaching from China.
The decision was based on tests of the river water, which showed benzene concentrations within the maximum allowable levels.
Experts said the slick would reach Khabarovsk, home to about 600,000 people, on Wednesday evening and would travel down river within the city for at least three days.
The construction of a dam designed to stop the chemicals at the local water intake facility was completed at 6:00 a.m. Moscow time (3:00 a.m. GMT), the local emergency situations center said. Some 3,000 people from China and 20 dump trucks were involved in building the dam, which consists of 100,000 cu m of rocky soil, south of Khabarovsk.
One hundred metric tons of benzene were dumped into the Amur tributary of the Songhua River after a November 13 explosion at a Chinese petrochemicals plant.