A crude oil leak from a pipeline owned by a unit of CNPC has caused water contamination effecting more than 2.4 million people in the Chinese city of Lanzhou, Gansu Chinese media reported on Saturday.
Oil leaked into the source for a water treatment plant, raising the amount of benzene to hazardous levels in the city’s water supply.
According to Chinese news agency Xinhua, Lanzhou’s environmental protection chief, Yan Zijiang, said the leak occurred in a pipeline owned by Lanzhou Petrochemical.
Lanzhou Petrochemical is a subsidiary of CNPC.
Benzene levels in Lanzhou’s tap water rose to 20 times above national safety levels, authorities said in a press release.
Lanzhou authorities said levels of 200 micrograms of benzene per liter was discovered in the water.
The U.S. EPA sets the maximum limit of benzene in water at 5 micrograms per liter.
Lanzhou officials have turned off the water in one district, and warned residents in the city not to drink tap water for at least 24 hours.