Hong Kong (CNN) -- 5,916 dead, bloated pigs and counting.
Chinese officials say they expect to find more carcasses floating in the river that flows through the center of Shanghai -- but they insist the city's water is fine.
The claim had incredulous residents one-upping each another with one-liners on the country's popular microblog service, Sina Weibo.
"Since when is finding dead rotting pigs in a major river not a public health problem?" Weibo user, @Muyunsanjun2011, asked.
"Answer: When this happens in China."
Officials said "no pollution has been found" in the city's water quality, according to the Shanghai Daily on Wednesday
"If the water is contaminated, we will put more the disinfectants and activated carbon to purify the water," an official from a Shanghai water plant was quoted in Xinhua, the state-run news agency.
It prompted another Weibo user, @_Nina_Burbage, to quip, "Since apparently, the water has not been contaminated, big leaders, please go ahead and have the first drink."
The city's water authorities say they are increasing the number of quality checks, removing the dead pigs while they are further upstream and working to ensure water quality, according to the local Chinese newspaper.
'Dead pigs all around'
How thousands of swollen dead pigs got to the river remains unclear, although there have been some clues.
This week, sanitation workers, clad in masks and plastic suits, fished the bruised pig bodies from the river. The pink, decomposing blobs surfacing in the Huangpu River wreaked foul odors and alarmed residents.
"There were dead pigs all around and they really stunk," one local resident told CNN. "Of course, we're worried, but what can you do about it? It's water that we have to drink and use."
If the water treatment process is very effective and can handle the sudden glut of contaminants, it's possible to minimize the impact, said Julian Fyfe, a senior research consu