China has experience with spilling toxics into rivers: it’s done it just recently in the Songhua, the Xiangjiang, the Yellow, and the Yangtze.

And China really loves dams; oh, does it heart dams.

So I guess this shouldn’t be surprising:

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Chinese authorities tried to slow the spread of a toxic spill by building 51 makeshift dams along the tainted river and using fire trucks to pump out polluted water before it reaches a reservoir serving a city of 10 million people, state media said Friday.

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The spill of 60 tons of coal tar into the Dasha river in north China’s Shanxi province was the latest in a series of mishaps fouling the country’s already polluted waterways. Officials said there have been at least 76 water pollution accidents in the last six months.

Nope, not surprised. Just depressed.