IRKUTSK, May 5 (Itar-Tass) —— The population in the residential areas affected by the oil pollution of the Angara River is allowed to use the tap water for drinking and cooking.
All the bans on the use of tap water are lifted in the cities of Cheremkhovo and Svirsk and the village of Mikhailovka, the Cheremkhovo district, a regional government source said, referring to Governor Dmitry Mezentsev.
The governor noted specialists regularly took samples at control sites to test the water for active chlorine and oil concentration and have conducted microbiological and sanitary chemical tests.
According to the Rospotrebnadzor control service, concentration of hydrocarbons in the water on Saturday was 0.035 mg/litre, within the safe level of 0.3 mg/litre.
The work to remove the oil spills in the river and on the banks with absorbents and active substances is continuing at the lower downstream areas. Specialists gather the remaining oil and used absorbents.
Oil spilled into the Angara on April 25 as a result of illegal siphoning of fuel from the local pipeline. According to Rospotrebnadzor's information, at least 316 tonnes of diesel fuel spilled into the river. Moving downstream, the oil spill reached the Cheremkhovo water intake system, which supplies water to Cheremkhovo, Svirsk and Mikhailovka.
More than 77,500 people were left without water supply for a week, and many of them also without heating. The state of emergency was lifted in the region on May 2 after the water supply resumed, but the population was warned to use the water only for household needs and not to drink and not to use it for cooking.
The schools have opened after they worked for limited time. After the May holidays, all the kindergartens will also open.