On 10th April, a serious tap water pollution incident occurred in the northwestern Chinese city of Lanzhou and an unexpected high level of benzene continent was found. The test result released by Lanzhou Veolia Water Company showed that the level of benzene in the tap water was 200 mg/L, 20 times higher than national safety limits of 10 mg/L.
According to the news report, the company first discovered the excessive benzene poisoned level at 3pm on 10th April, but the local government did not publicize the warning notices until 4pm the day after. This is suspected of being a delayed announcement. In addition, an expert pointed out that the ferro concrete used to make the number four water pipe (polluted in this incident) is too old to use after sixty years. Also, some citizens in Lanzhou have complained that Veolia Water Company has not renewed the water supply system since it got the water supply franchise from the government.
Lanzhou Veolia Water Company is the only water supply company in the city. It is a joint venture company owned by Lanzhou Water Group and French Veolia. The French capital accounts for 45% of the shares. The French capital is also registered as an investment company in Hong Kong, called Veolia Water (Yellow River) Investment Co., Ltd, with the cooperation of China Ping An Insurance. For now, Lanzhou Veolia Water Company is responsible for the water supply in four districts, covering a total of 2.4 million people. At the same time, Veolia Water has contracts with municipalities in China covering 43 million people. That means that the company is responsible for the basic right of access to water for this number of people.
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