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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Oily Spill in Moscow River

Hundreds of liters of an oily liquid were spilled into the Moscow River on Thursday and Friday by an unidentified polluter, less than three weeks after a major oil spill from a derailed train in the Tver region threatened to poison Moscow's water supply.

The first of the Moscow spills occurred Thursday afternoon when about 500 liters of oily liquid leaked into the river from a pipe in western Moscow, Oleg Mitvol, deputy head of the Federal Service for the Inspection of Natural Resources Use, said Friday, Interfax reported.

The Emergency Situations Ministry said that the spill was engine oil dumped into the sewage system by an unidentified motor depot in the city's Fili area.

The oil formed a slick of about 700 square meters on the river, emergency response officials said. By Friday afternoon, the slick was largely cleared up, they said.

However, two new spills of the engine oil entered the river from the same pipe on Friday, Mitvol said.

He blamed Mosvodostok, a state-owned company that oversees sewage pipelines, for the spills.

"Mosvodostok is responsible for the condition the pipes and should monitor them," he told Strana.ru.

Mosvodostok denied wrongdoing. "It looks like it is not our pipe," the deputy head of the company, Larisa Minzar, told Strana.ru. "We have checked all the enterprises connected to our sewage system and analyzed samples from pipes connecting them to our system, and so far we have not found any proof that any of them was dumping oil."

The City Prosecutor's Office opened a criminal case into the spills Thursday. Depending upon the damage, a polluter could face a fine of up a year's income or a prison term of up to two years.

Mitvol said that despite the efforts of emergency officials in clearing up the oil, the danger of an environmental disaster in the city remained.