Things you only know if you’re a plumber

In November 2015, main contractors announced that they would pledge $20 million for paying the water bills of 29,000 affected households for about a year. Contractors were required to change all the pipes inside the affected households. The non-compliant water pipes in common areas of 11 affected public estates have been progressively replaced since March 2016, starting with Kwai Yuet House at Lower Ngau Tau Kok Estate on 17 October 2016. In 通渠 , Chief Secretary Carrie Lam announced that households affected by a tainted water would receive rebates of up to HK$660 (US$85) on their water bills. The four main water pipe contractors for the affected estates agreed to install temporary pipes and undertake permanent replacement at a total cost of HK$140 million as a gesture of goodwill. They also agreed to pay HK$20 million in compensation to affected tenants without any admission of responsibility.

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As of the same date, 64 other public housing developments were tested but no excessive lead contamination found. This does not necessarily clear these estates of the possibility of contamination, as the number of tests completed to date varies in each location and the testing has not been exhaustive of each housing block or drinking water tap. Samples of water contaminated with lead have been identified at a range of public and private buildings of various ages, but especially in public housing estates constructed in the past decade.

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The task force also found that copper alloy fittings leach lead, but not to an excessive degree. Elemental analysis of solder from Kai Ching Estate found it comprises up to 41 per cent lead, or 585 times the British Standard of 0.07 per cent. Helena Wong revealed in early November that Chief Secretary Carrie Lam and a Health Department official had separately asked Wong in July, shortly after she made her revelations, for the name of the laboratory that conducted the tests. Four main contractors were barred from tendering seven new projects involving construction of 18,000 flats under HA from March to September 2015. In August 2015, main contractors installed water filters for affected households and do the replacement or cleaning of water filters regularly.

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