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‘Flammable’ tap water being set on fire by lighter, video goes viral

A video went viral on social media platforms which showed that tap water being set on fire by a lighter as the resident said her household had gaseous and ‘oily’ running water for ‘three to four years’.

Municipal officials have suspended the neighborhood’s supply of drinking water on Sunday after the video went viral which showed the burning tap water at a house due to natural gas seepage in Panjin city of China’s Liaoning Province.

The resident, Identified by her last name Wen, claimed that they had been living with the phenomenon since at least 2018, reported Chinese media.

She said that the highly flammable water streaming from her family’s faucets went unresolved until a video she posted to social media was picked up by major news outlets like state broadcaster CCTV and Chinese Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily.

flammable tap water natural gas seepage viral video

The video clip which showed her father igniting water flowing out of their bathroom tap spawned a hashtag which has been read more than 250 million times on China’s Twitter-like service Weibo.

Wen told CCTV that the water always seems more oily as compared to the regular tap water at her house. She added that a complaint has been lodged by her father to the local water supply station this summer, however, the service provider could not address the problem and instead offered the family a 100 renminbi ($15) utility bill discount.

She said that her mother expressed health concerns for the family members due to the gaseous but odorless ‘flammable’ water which they first noticed ‘three to four years’ ago.

According to the CCTV report, residents in the area were not surprised by the revelation. At least one homeowner reported accidentally igniting water coming from his kitchen faucet while using his gas stove.

Municipal officials suspended the neighborhood’s water supply a few hours after the reports surfaced, before releasing the results of a preliminary investigation Tuesday.

The phenomenon—reportedly affecting more than 100 households—was caused by natural gas seepage into the potable water supply, which is pumped from groundwater 4,500 feet below, the Dawa District Publicity Department said.

Despite residents’ claims that the phenomenon had been ongoing for several years, the local government said the flammable tap water appeared following recent improvements to a groundwater storage device.

Local residents have been supplied with alternate water sources while remedial work continues, the publicity office said, adding that it was still trying to determine liability for the mistake.

The city of Panjin is known for its natural gas reservoirs.

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