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Industrial leak forces Kadena pump station shut

Date Posted: 2003-07-24

A leak of sodium hydroxide from a factory into Hija River outside Kadena Town on Sunday forced officials to shut down the pumping station at the river that supplies Kadena Town most of its drinking water for 11 hours. A worker at the factory that makes liquid oxygen failed to notice that a tank where sodium hydroxide is mixed with water had flooded and its contents leaked to the river.

The factory personnel reported the incident to the Kadena Fire Station as soon as they discovered what had happened. The fire station alerted Okinawa Prefecture officials, who ordered the pump station to shut down immediately. The pumping station is located just down river from the factory.

A subsequent analysis of the water in the river showed elevated alkalinity level that persisted until next day when the level returned to normal, and the pumps were allowed to start again. According to Kadena Town officials, the town pumps 900 to 1,000 tons of water from the river each day. The pumping station remained shut down for 11 hours, and while the pumps were off, substitute water was supplied from Kurashiki Dam.

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