In the wake of Hong Kong’s crisis of lead-contaminated water comes news that seawater, used for flushing toilets, was flowing out of the freshwater taps in a residential block in Kwun Tong.
Tenants in Lee Hong House in Shun Lee Estate were furious when they discovered this, Apple Daily reported Friday.
One of them, surnamed Lau, told the newspaper he was surprised to find Thursday morning that the water from the tap in his flat was salty.
He phoned the Housing Authority for an explanation.
The authority said later that flushing water pipes in the underground pump house had burst.
Lau became emotional when he realized that he had drunk a glass of flushing water, worrying that his health would be affected.
Another tenant, surnamed Kwok, criticized the authority for poor management and wondered how flushing water could infiltrate into freshwater pipes.
The Federation of Public Housing Estates said public confidence in the water supply has fallen to its lowest point after this incident.
The authority put out a notice later to tell tenants in Lee Hong House the supply of flushing water in the whole building and the freshwater supply for floors 7 to 18 was suspended.
Supplies resumed at 4 p.m.
Staff at the authority said the incident wasn’t caused by misconnected pipes, Fu Pik-chun, a Kwun Tong district councilor said.
Lee Hong House has 740 flats. The flats affected made up 60 percent of the total, Fu said.
Dr. Gabriel Choi Kin, former president of the Hong Kong Medical Association, said flushing water has not been sanitized.
It probably contains germs such as E. coli, and people may suffer from diarrhea, gastroenteritis or even scurvy after drinking unboiled flushing water, Choi said.
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