In the summer of 2015 it was discovered that drinking water supplies in Kai Ching House, Kowloon City, contained lead exceeding the WHO guidelines of 10 µg/L. Following this discovery, a number of other housing estates – both public and private – were found to have lead contamination in their water supplies, as well as some schools and kindergartens.
The first concern was for the health and wellbeing of those people who had been exposed to the contaminated water supplies, and to ensure a supply of lead-free drinking water for Hong Kong Residents.
A task force lead by the Water Supplies Department came to the conclusion that the lead content of water was the result of lead leaching into water in the ‘inside system’, i.e. inside the estates, principally because leaded solders were used to join copper pipes. Lead solders do not satisfy the ‘British Standard’ of materials which both Hong Kong legislation and most construction contracts require.
In the wake of this lead leaching saga, Clyde & Co have given a series of presentations to various industry stakeholders who are concerned as to where legal liabilities may lie, who will be responsible for rectification costs, and whether the government has done enough to protect the citizens.
It is also yet to be seen whether the high Blood Lead Level of some Hong Kong residents may have detrimental effects on their health, which could bring with it a host of legal actions.