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Fuel Spill Threatens Moscow's Water Supply

17 June 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Fuel oil from a train that derailed 200 kilometers west of Moscow has spilled into a nearby river and raised fears it could contaminate the city's water supply.

Oleg Mitvol, the deputy chief of environmental monitoring at the Natural Resources Ministry, said if urgent clean-up measures were not taken there could be problems with Moscow's drinking water.

The fuel oil continued to spill into the area around the Vazuza River after the single clean-up pump brought to the scene broke down and floating booms placed across the river failed to hold back the oil slick.

The Vazuza feeds into the Volga River which supplies drinking water to Moscow's reservoirs.

Mitvol said his ministry would demand a criminal case be opened to
learn why authorities were so slow in reacting.

The 26-car train derailed on 15 June, spilling between 60 and 300 tons of fuel oil into the Vazuza.