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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Toxic Spill Threatens Southern China

BEIJING -- A toxic waste spill from a zinc smelter, the second environmental disaster to hit China in weeks, halted water supplies from a southern river for eight hours and threatened cities downstream, state media said on Wednesday.

Cadmium levels have been 10 times normal in the Shaoguan city section of the North River in the province of Guangdong, the Guangzhou Daily said Wednesday. "It has been confirmed that the Shaoguan smelter illegally discharged the cadmium-containing waste water during an overhaul of equipment," the government-run newspaper said.

A hotel receptionist in Shaoguan city, with a population of half a million, said water was turned off on Tuesday from for eight hours. People who live along the river had been told not to drink the water, the Guangzhou Daily said.

"We are working with the environmental officials, but it's hard to say who is responsible," an official with Shenzhen Zhongjin Lingnan, which owns the smelter.