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WSD responds to media enquiries

     In response to media enquiries on the drinking water samples taken from the taps of wall-mounted kettles in two kindergartens found with lead content exceeding the World Health Organization (WHO) standard limit, a spokesman for the Water Supplies Department (WSD) gave the following reply today (September 23):

     Up to September 23, the WSD has assisted the Education Bureau in taking and testing a total of 223 drinking water samples from 110 kindergartens. Amongst these samples, 56 samples were collected from the taps of wall-mounted kettles and 167 samples from the inside service systems. Apart from one sample from each of the wall-mounted kettles of two kindergartens exceeding the WHO standard, the remaining 221 drinking water samples met the WHO standard, including 54 samples collected from the taps of wall-mounted kettles.

     In connection with these two concerned wall-mounted kettles, the WSD took additional drinking water samples at their inlets. In collaboration with the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department and the Government Laboratory, the department conducted rapid tests on the presence of lead by using an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer. The test results showed that these additional drinking water samples met the WHO standard. However, the preliminary results of the rapid tests indicated the presence of lead at the welding joints of some parts of these wall-mounted kettles. Relevant government departments will conduct further investigation to ascertain whether any other parts contain lead.

     As wall-mounted kettle is a water using apparatus and not a fitting of the inside service system, suppliers are not required to apply for acceptance letters from the WSD. Nevertheless, consent of the WSD has to be sought for any installation of wall-mounted kettle connected with the inside service system. This is to ensure that the drinking water inside the wall-mounted kettle will not flow back causing potential contamination of the inside service system. The WSD will review the requirements for wall-mounted kettle. Regarding the purchase of wall-mounted kettle, the WSD suggests choosing products with international certification (such as those certified by the WaterMark of Australia or the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme of the UK).

     Below are some suggestions on using wall-mounted kettles:
1) New wall-mounted kettles should be cleaned thoroughly before use;  
2) Wall-mounted kettles should be cleansed regularly in order to prevent accumulation of dirt or other impurities;
3) Drain away the stored water inside the wall-mounted kettle before use in the morning. To avoid wastage, you may use a container to collect the water for non-drinking purposes; and
4) If you are concerned about the lead content in the drinking water inside your wall-mounted kettle, you may engage an accredited laboratory to take water samples for testing.

     On basic water sampling procedures for wall-mounted kettles:
1) Take a water sample only after cooling down the water inside the wall-mounted kettle naturally;
2) Fill water into a polyethylene sample bottle (250ml) and do it carefully to prevent overflow;
3) Put the cap back on the sample bottle and ensure it is tightly closed, and put on labels (with sampling location, date and time); and
4) Store the water sample in an icebox with freezer packs and deliver it to the laboratory on the same day.

     For information about accredited laboratories, please visit the website of the Innovation and Technology Commission: .

Ends/Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Issued at HKT 22:31


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