The company immediately closed the pipeline when the accident happened, the report added, but not before some of the diesel ended up in the Weihe River, a tributary of the Yellow River, a major water source for millions of people.
“The company has built 23 blocking belts on the rivers and the local government built three more dams to prevent leaked oil from flowing into the Yellow River,” Xinhua said… China periodically faces spills into rivers that result in water supplies being cut off, most seriously in 2005 when an explosion at an industrial plant sent toxic chemicals streaming into the Songhua river in northeastern city of Harbin, forcing the shutdown of water supplies to nearly 4 million people.
From the NYT:
The government has not explained why the report of the spill was not released until late Saturday. But Xinhua, the official state news agency, said the leak was caused by construction work and that a crew of 700 people was struggling to contain the damage from what Shaanxi officials said was about 150,000 liters, or about 40,000 gallons, of diesel oil.
The damaged pipeline belongs to the China National Petroleum Corporation, one of the country’s state-owned oil giants and the parent company of PetroChina. The company did not specify on Saturday exactly how much oil was spilled but said that it had shut down the pipeline. The company also said that “much of the leaked oil and polluted silt has already been taken away.” But government officials in Shaanxi province said on Saturday that oil has been detected far downstream from the leak and warned local residents not to use water in the region.