The Urban Renewal Authority’s first subsidised housing project recorded excessive lead content in their water supply, with one of the samples exceeding international standards by over 30 percent.

Local newspaper Apple Daily conducted a test on water samples from De Novo, which is located in Kai Tak to the west of Tak Long Estate. Among the four samples sent to a government-accredited laboratory, one sample had lead content of 13 micrograms per litre, which is 30 perecent over the World Health Organisation standard of 10 micrograms per litre. Another sample had lead content of nine micrograms per litre.

de novo
Artist Impression of De Novo. Photo: Stand News.

The URA started accepting applications for De Novo flats in early January. 338 flats are being sold at a 20 percent discount on their market price.

On Thursday, the URA issued a statement saying that the Water Supplies Department has strict regulations on water tests, and the reliability of samples taken by other parties is questionable. The URA also said they had already received a Certificate Regarding Water Supply from the Water Supplies Department for De Novo last year, Ming Pao reported.

Non-executive director of the URA Wu Chi-wai said it would be unacceptable if there was excessive lead content in water, and a comprehensive water test was thus required.

urban renewal authority
Urban Renewal Authority.

The samples were collected on January 6 by an Apple Daily reporter. One sample was taken from each De Novo building, while the collection of samples was carried out according to the government-accredited laboratory ALS Global’s instructions, Apple Daily reported.

The first case of lead contamination happened in July 2015. Cases at other estates were subsequently found.

Koel Chu is a second-year journalism and fine arts student at the University of Hong Kong. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Koel is interested in the arts and urban design. She interned at China Radio International in Beijing and, at her university, she also works as Vice-President of Branding and Marketing in AIESEC, the largest youth-run organisation in the world.