Chinese city apologises for delay in reporting chemical leak

BEIJING (AP) - A Chinese city government has apologised for taking five days to report a chemical leak that has affected another city's drinking water supply.

Xinhua News Agency says the mayor of Changzhi in northern Shanxi province apologised at a news conference on Monday.

He said the polluter had informed the municipal government of the leak on Dec 31 but that they had underestimated its severity.

Xinhua says the city was required to report the leak to the provincial environmental authority within two hours.

About nine tonnes of aniline had leaked into a river and contaminated the water supply in Handan city in neighbouring Hebei province by the time the incident became public on Saturday.

Xinhua says the water still could not be used on Monday.

Aniline, used in manufacturing polyurethane, can be toxic to humans.