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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Teams Proceed With Oil Cleanup, Say Leak To Kama River Blocked

Cleanup teams Wednesday continued to battle an oil spill in the southern Ural Mountains, while authorities reported that the advance of leaked oil toward the Kama River had been blocked.

The oil leaked a week ago from a pipeline running along the Belaya River, a tributary of the Kama, which leads into the mighty Volga River.

Officials in the Russian region of Bashkortostan, the site of the spill, said it involved about 100 tons of crude oil that contaminated some 35,000 square meters of the river.

Interfax, however, quoted Bashkortostan's environment ministry as estimating the contaminated area at 80,000 square meters.

The spill reportedly has polluted the drinking water supply of dozens of villages in the region near the city of Ufa, about 1,000 kilometers from Moscow.

The main fear, however, was that the oil would reach the larger Kama and possibly even the Volga rivers.

But Wednesday, Bashkortostan's environment minister, Rustem Khamitov, said the oil's advance had been blocked by protective dams, Itar-Tass reported. Heavy frosts in the area also impeded the oil's movement.

Khamitov said the cleanup will take at least a month.