Two residents at a public housing estate affected by lead contamination in its water supply have filed a claim on Tuesday against a building contractor for a total of HK$800 they paid for new water filters.

The two claimants, surnamed Chan and Lee, spent $200 and $600 on water filters from retail chain 759 Store and a door-to-door salesman respectively, after the level of lead in the water at Kai Ching Estate in Kowloon City was found to exceed the World Health Organization standard.

water, kai ching estate
Water at Kai Ching Estate.

The two made their purchases before government contractor China State Construction International Holdings, which was responsible for the installation of water pipes at Kai Ching Estate in Kowloon City, announced that it will be installing new filters for residents.

The two filed the claim at the Small Claims Tribunal and the case will be heard on October 17.

Chan reportedly said that although his health has not been adversely affected by the consumption of lead water, the scandal still gave him a scare. Lee said she found out that the water filter she bought was not certified.

Leung Yuen-ting of the Lead in Drinking Water Concern Group said that she was confident about the claim, and that she hoped this would set a precedent for the other residents affected, reported DBC radio station.

Kai Ching estate
Kai Ching Estate. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The first case of lead contamination was discovered in July when the Democratic Party conducted a water sampling investigation at Kai Ching Estate. The Housing Authority soon confirmed the level of lead present exceeded the WHO standard. Following the discovery, more housing estates and two primary schools also found excessive lead content in their water supplies.

An independent commission chaired by a judge was appointed to investigate the lead-in-water scandal. The commission is expected to report in nine months.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.