MAC: Mines and Communities

Normal drinking water supply suspended in Brazilian cities

Published by MAC on 2007-01-11

Normal drinking water supply suspended in Brazilian cities

Xinhua New Agency

11th January 2007

RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- Normal drinking water supply was suspended in the cities of Laje do Muriae, Itaperuna y Sao Jose de Uba in Brazil on Thursday after a mining waste leak.

Now citizens in these cities have to depend on water being sent in tankers.

Though containing no toxic materials, the leak added at least 2 million cubic meters of mud into the Muriae River, raising the mudlevel almost 200 times higher than its normal levels, said Wagner Victer, the head of Rio de Janeiro's water and drainage company.

Victer also said that the mud might be fatal for the fish in the Muriae River and possibly in the Paraiba do Sul River as well, which are two of the most important rivers in the north of Rio de Janeiro state.

As the polluted rivers flow to the Atlantic Ocean, it may affect the northern and northwestern regions of the state and twenty-seven city halls have declared a state of emergency.

Due to a dam burst on Wednesday, a mining waste leak dumped tons of runoff into the Muriae River, threatening water supply to cities in Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais states, and affecting about 90,000 people.

The Owner of the dam, The Rio Pomba company, which mines bauxite and calcium, is likely to be fined 50 million reais (23.4 million U.S. dollars), said the government.


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