Chinese officials say they expect that water service will be restored to Harbin by Sunday, after an 80-kilometer-long toxic chemical slick flows past the northeastern city.
Premier Wen Jiabao traveled there Saturday to get a first hand look at clean up efforts. State media quote him as telling local officials to guarantee that people will have safe and drinkable water.
Harbin's four million residents have been without tap water since Tuesday. A November 13 explosion at a chemical facility upstream spilled about 100 tons of potentially cancer-causing benzene into the Songhua, the river that is Harbin's main water source.
Workers are installing new filters at Harbin's water purifying plant. Officials say that after service is restored in Harbin, residents should inspect the water before drinking it.
Meawhile, Chinese officials have formally apologized to Russia for any contamination-related damage that results from wates flowing from the polluted Songhua toward the Russian border.
Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.