Date
20 October 2017
Democratic Party member Wan Siu-kin says the Housing Authority’s sample size was too small, with only 10 specimens taken. Photo: HKEJ
Democratic Party member Wan Siu-kin says the Housing Authority’s sample size was too small, with only 10 specimens taken. Photo: HKEJ

Housing Authority says water samples from 6 estates safe

Test results from the Housing Authority show no abnormal lead content in water samples collected from six subsidized housing estates, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The findings contradicted the results of a test conducted by the Democratic Party last month which found 16 samples with excessive lead content.

Water samples from Sheung Tsui Court in Tsuen Wan exceeded safety limits by 39 times with 400 milligrams of lead per liter, according to the Democratic Party.

The Housing Authority said all samples from 10 vacated flats registered 4 to 9.8 milligrams of lead per liter. Given the results, it said it would not conduct estate-wide tests.

The Water Supplies Department has recently issued water safety standards to contractors and ordered them to conduct at least three rounds of systemic cleaning work to ensure water quality.

The housing estates involved in the tests included Sheung Tsui Court in Tsuen Wan, Ching Chun Court in Tsing Yi, Mei Pak Court and Mei Ying Court in Tai Wai, Wang Fu Court and King Tai Court in Yuen Long.

Housing Authority Assistant Director Theresa Yim said that although the six tested government housing estates have not undergone systemic cleaning, all of the safety requirements from the Water Supplies Department have been met.

Leung Kwong-ho, chairman of the Water Supplies Department Expert Committee on Plumbing Materials, said he would not comment on the Democratic Party’s testing methods but added that the varying results can be attributed to certain renovation work within the estate or some of the taps being left unused for a long time.

Leung said lead is used during the manufacturing of copper alloy taps and faucets. However, the lead content is minimal and will drop back to normal levels if the tap has been used consistently for one week to two months.

Assistant Director of the Water Supplies Department Chan Chung-kun said residents of the estates should rinse their taps by turning them on for 15 minutes each day for three days, Apple Daily reports.

Chan also recommended letting the tap run for at least two minutes before each use during the initial period. A resident of Sheung Tsui Court, surnamed Mak, said rinsing the tap before use is costly.

Democratic Party member Wan Siu-kin said the Housing Authority’s sample size was too small, with only 10 specimens taken.

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