A chemical plant has discharged arsenide into a river in Hunan, poisoning the drinking water for more than 80,000 people. But local health authorities said that as of yesterday there were no reports of people falling ill. Xinhua said the spill into the Xinqiang River, which supplies the 80,000 residents of Yueyang county with drinking water, was discovered by county environmental authorities on Friday during a routine water check. Arsenide levels were found to be 10 times the normal standard, officials said. Xinhua yesterday also quoted the environmental authority as saying the pollution had flooded Dongting lake, home to endangered fish such as the Chinese sturgeon and baiji, a type of dolphin. But the authority said the animals would be only slightly affected. Arsenide poisoning can cause nausea, vomiting, stomach pains and convulsions. It can also lead to coma and death. The incident is the latest in a series of industrial environmental accidents and comes as the central government intensifies pressure on companies that illegally dump waste, and corrupt officials who turn a blind eye to environmental degradation. Recently, pollution from a lead smelter in Gansu province was found to have poisoned more than 360 people, including about 150 children. In Hunan, Peng Xiangdong , deputy director of Yueyang county's Environmental Protection Bureau, said authorities had closed a small private chemical plant in Linxiang city about 50km upriver after finding it was the source of the pollution. Pan Yue , deputy head of the State Environmental Protection Administration, said the country had recorded more than 130 water pollution cases since the massive pollution of the Songhua River in November. He said factories were mostly to blame. In Gansu's Hui county, villagers affected by the pollution from a lead smelter yesterday accused the county government of going back on a pledge to cover their medical bills. Villager Ma Yunli , whose five-month-old son, Zhou Sitong , was found to have more than three times the normal level of lead in his blood, said the county government planned to take victims' blood for testing from today, but villagers had to sign an agreement beforehand, saying they would pay their own medical expenses. The state health authority has sent experts to the village to examine and treat the victims.