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State of emergency introduced in Svirsk over oil spill in Angara

April 26, 2012, 9:28 UTC+3

A state of emergency has been introduced in the town of Svirsk located on the Angara River in the Irkutsk Region due to a spill of petroleum products

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IRKUTSK, April 26 (Itar-Tass) — A state of emergency has been introduced in the town of Svirsk located on the Angara River in the Irkutsk Region due to a spill of petroleum products. A high alert regime is in effect in Cheremkhovo, the press service of the government of the Irkutsk Region reported after a meeting of the emergency response headquarters.

The head of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry’s (EMERCOM) main department for the region reported that on Wednesday night an oil slick was discovered in the Angara River that was stretching about 10 kilometres downstream. The estimated mass of the spilt diesel fuel is 2 tonnes. The incident occurred due to illegal pipeline tapping at an enterprise of the Pribaikalye plant of the Russian Federal State Reserve Agency (Rosrezerv). Due to the threat of petroleum products’ getting into the water supply main, the Cheremkhovo district water intake was shut off. This water intake in the Cheremkhovo district provides cold water to Cheremkhovo, Svirsk and the Mikhailovka settlement.

According to Deputy Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Irkutsk Region Nina Abarinova, the survey of the river banks in Svirsk and downstream the Angara River has been conducted since Wednesday evening, water intakes and purification facilities in Svirsk are also being examined. “According to preliminary data as of the morning of April 26, there are no petroleum products in the purification facilities. Water from the intake was sent for a laboratory analysis for petroleum content. There is no smell of petroleum products in Svirsk on the river banks,” said the deputy minister. Representatives of the Russian Federal Consumer Rights Protection and Human Health Control Service (Rospotrebnadzor) and services for the protection of Lake Baikal on Thursday will arrive at the incident site for further laboratory tests of water in the Angara River. As of Wednesday evening, the maximum permissible concentration of petroleum products in the water was exceeded 9.4 times, and currently - 6.5 times.

In the main heat supply source of Cheremkhovo – the TETs-12 thermal power plant is operating normally, its two boiler houses of the total eight are working. Three water trucks are used for the delivery of potable water to the local population, it is planned to additionally involve vehicles from Angarsk. The Svirsk town has three artesian wells and four water trucks are delivering water there on the routes determined by the local administration. According to mayor of the Cheremkhovo district Viktor Poboikin, there is a drinking water storage reservoir in Mikhailovka, its volume is sufficient to satisfy the drinking water demand of the population.

“Kindergartens and in Cheremkhovo and Svirsk are closed on Thursday, the local schools work in a limited regime,” the regional administration’s press-service said.

The investigating authorities of the Irkutsk region have launched a probe into the incident.

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