The Water Supplies Department (WSD) has confirmed that the drinking water supplied to a new public rental housing estate in Kwai Fong meets the standard, with tests done on some samples proving that it is safe for consumption.
The confirmation came after the Democratic Party said on Wednesday that it received complaints from residents of Kwai Tsui Estate that their tap water looked white and turbid and that they fear the water might have been contaminated by lead.
The party claimed that a test arranged by its member Ng Kim-sing, who is a Kwai Tsing district councilor, showed there were excessive levels of lead in four of the water samples collected from Kwai Tsui Estate, where tenants had begun to move in three months ago.
One sample revealed concentrations of lead at 104 micrograms per liter, which is over 10 times the guideline of the World Health Organization (WHO) of 10 microgram per liter, RTHK quoted the party as saying.
Responding quickly, the WSD sent its staff to the estate the same day and took water samples from two flats that had reported to have tainted drinking water.
Announcing the test result on Thursday, the department said it found the lead content of the six-hour stagnation water samples taken from the units, which are in Bik Tsui House of the estate, was 2 micrograms per liter, hk01.com reports.
That was within the 10 micrograms limit set by the WHO, the department pointed out.
A department spokesman added that inspectors, while collecting water samples in the two units, had noticed that the tenants had altered the water pipes and replaced the water taps in the flats.
As new fittings will generally have a higher metal leaching rate during their early stage of use, the spokesman suggested the tenants of the units flush the drinking water supply system twice a day, in the morning and at night for 15 minutes each time, for three consecutive days from Thursday.
The WSD, meanwhile, promised to revisit the units later to collect drinking water samples to test if there is still any further change to the water quality.
It added that it will also continue to approach the tenants of the remaining flats alleged to have excess lead found in drinking water for arranging water sampling tests for them.
According to the department’s spokesman, any contamination by the surrounding environment — for instance, renovation works in a flat — may affect the test result.
As such, it reminded people collecting samples that extra care should be taken during the collection to ensure that the test result would not be affected by any contaminant.
At about 2 pm Thursday, water trucks were dispatched by the WSD to Kwai Tsui Estate. The estate staff initially prevented the trucks from entering the compound, before finally relenting after negotiations that lasted around an hour, according to reports.
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