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China to probe Veolia unit over reporting of water pollution

Published on Apr 14, 2014 7:51 PM

BEIJING (REUTERS) - A Chinese government team will probe a local unit of French firm Veolia Environment suspected of delaying reporting water contamination which affected supplies in a major northwestern city, state radio said on Monday.

Levels of benzene, a cancer-inducing chemical, in Lanzhou's tap water rose 20 times above national safety levels on Friday, forcing the city to turn off supplies in one district and warn other residents not to drink tap water for the next 24 hours.

The water supply company, Lanzhou Veolia Water Co, is majority-owned by the city government, with Veolia China, a unit of Veolia Environment, holding a 45 per cent stake.

The government has already blamed a crude oil leak from a pipeline owned by a unit of China National Petroleum Corp.

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