Accident makes Russian village's taps run with oil

Villagers in Russia's far east had a shock recently when they turned on their hot water taps to find oil flowing from them.

The local YakutiaMedia website says a central heating system accident in the village of Chersky resulted in three tonnes of oil leaking into the water supply. The oil also made its way into a nearby river and contaminated the soil.

A video on the Life news portal shows one villager filling a bucket from an indoor tap. What flows out is thick, black and viscous - unmistakably oil. "People can't even wash, because a mixture of fuel oil and water with the characteristic smell of petrol is flowing from the taps. It is completely insanitary," Chersky resident Ivan tells Life.

Officials are now working to expunge all traces of oil from the water supply. They say the cold water taps are still working fine, and advise villagers to boil that water for both washing and drinking. Regional prosecutors and environmental protection officers have launched an official inquiry into the incident.

Chersky was only just recovering from a 24-hour power outage that saw the regional authorities rush in generators to keep the local clinic and essential services supplied. It was the village's 23rd power outage this year alone, according to the local government's energy department.

Most social media users sympathise with the villagers' plight, with some even suggesting that the oil leak may have been deliberate. "Someone should go to prison for this, it looks like sabotage," one comment on the Life article reads. Others are less bothered, and say the villagers should be grateful that their water has been replaced with valuable oil. As one incredulous blogger puts it: "Seriously? They are complaining?"