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Housing Authority convenes informal meeting to discuss Action Plan for Enhancing Drinking Water Safety in Hong Kong
The following is issued on behalf of the Hong Kong Housing Authority:

     The Government announced the Action Plan for Enhancing Drinking Water Safety in Hong Kong today (September 21), which aims to further safeguard the drinking water quality in public and private buildings. The Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) convened an informal meeting shortly after the announcement to discuss the Action Plan. Government representatives were invited to brief Members on the details. The HA Members fully supported the implementation of the Government's Action Plan to enhance drinking water safety. The HA will work in co-ordination with the Government for the implementation of the Action Plan in PRH estates and the relevant follow-up actions.

     Representatives from the Water Supplies Department (WSD) briefed Members on the main components of the Action Plan at the meeting, including the territory-wide "Drinking Water Standards" and "Enhanced Water Quality Monitoring Programme" (Enhanced Programme). Members noted that the WSD would collect water samples annually from premises in Hong Kong, including public rental housing (PRH) estates, in accordance with the new sampling protocol, for the testing of six metals, namely lead, nickel, chromium, cadmium, copper and antimony. In order to put the minds of residents at ease, international expert panel established by the Development Bureau recommended that additional water samples from post-2005 PRH estates for testing of lead would be taken in conjunction with the implementation of the Enhanced Programme in the first year.
     Representatives from the WSD also introduced other components of the Action Plan, including strengthening regulatory control for inside service, and developing a set of guidelines and templates for promoting the implementation of a Water Safety Plan (WSP) for buildings.

     Representatives from the Housing Department (HD) updated Members on the latest developments regarding the follow-up actions arising from the "excess lead in water incident" in 2015, including enhancing the HA's quality assurance mechanism, and the progress of rectification works in the 11 affected PRH developments. The HD also explained the implementation arrangements of the Action Plan, in particular the Enhanced Programme, in PRH estates.

     The Secretary for Transport and Housing and Chairman of the HA, Mr Frank Chan Fan, said at the meeting, "In respect of the new administrative requirements under the Action Plan, such as new commissioning requirements, the HA will, as usual, continue to strictly comply with the Water Authority's requirements and procedures. Regarding components in which participation is voluntary, such as the Enhanced Programme, the HA, as the owner, welcomes the WSD to take water samples from PRH estates.  However, as the programme is not mandatory, PRH tenants can choose whether or not to participate. The WSD will seek consent from tenants before taking drinking water samples for testing. As for the WSP for buildings, we also support its implementation in PRH estates."

     The WSD said that the various components under the Action Plan will be rolled out in stages. Among them, the Enhanced Programme is expected to be launched in December this year. Mr Chan said that the HA would keep in view the implementation and operation of the Action Plan in PRH estates, and would continue to keep the public informed of the progress of rectification works in the 11 affected PRH estates and the latest developments under the Action Plan through various channels.
Ends/Thursday, September 21, 2017
Issued at HKT 20:45
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