Environment & Health Hong Kong

Lead contamination in water found at primary school built 55 years ago

Excessive lead content has been found in a water sample at Hop Yat Church School, a primary school in Ho Man Tin built in 1960. The school is one of the few older buildings that has been found to have lead contamination in its water supply and the discovery means that 10 educational institutes have now been affected by the citywide scandal.

Out of five water samples tested at the school, one sample was found to carry lead contents that are over safety standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO), announced the school on Monday.

The water sample, which came from an unfiltered tap in a hand basin in a classroom, contained 24.8 micrograms of lead per litre. The WHO safety standard is set at 10 micrograms of lead per litre of water.

Hop Yat Church School

Hop Yat Church School. Photo: Hop Yat Church School.

The school will install water filters. It has advised its students not to drink water from unfiltered taps.

The first case of lead contamination was discovered in July when a water sampling investigation was conducted at Kai Ching Estate in Kowloon City. Eleven public housing estates and 10 educational institutes have been affected to date. The majority of these housing estates were constructed in the last decade.

On Tuesday, the government agreed to test the water supplies of 980 kindergartens for lead contamination, despite refusing to do so last week.

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.

Lead contamination in water found at primary school built 55 years ago