Bypassing Government

It is increasingly apparent that administrators across the globe have the same playbook, in the event of a potential crisis, the first step is denial denial denial, event’s in Flint Michigan and closer to home in Hong Kong Public Housing estates exposed us to water contaminated with Lead (Pb) , and both authorities denied it. Private citizens were forced to present laboratory reports to officials, and some still denied the obvious fact.

In Hong Kong, the conservative water authority (WSD) started issuing bulletin after bulletin, but ultimately missing the point I fear. After completion, WSD will never willingly step inside the estate, as they often remind us, their responsibility ends at the site boundary. And inside the boundary, yes the works must comply with the regulations, but its down to the developer. So back to Public Housing, the flat is handed over to the new tenant, with what can only be described as bog-standard fittings, and a visit to the local hardware store is in order, to buy new taps and fittings, and without any import restrictions, every type and model is on display whether certified or not.

With years of experience behind us, have we learnt from the past, not really, the difference is that even your kids know it. Young adults globally have been vocal expressing alarm unhappy with the administrator’s response to climate change. And recent warnings that we have 10-12 years left has not shaken the establishment.

Certainly, some countries are moving forward, but remember the hole in the ozone layer, it needed everyone to be involved, and fully committed, but here are, mid-2019, and there is still no plan. In the United Kingdom authorities are under pressure to recognize the issue and declare a state of emergency, but really that does not help, in a world where China and USA are not on-board. The people, it seems are seriously concerned about sustainability, but not their politicians. Therefore businesses react to the loudest consumers, with often token efforts. the Plastic tonnage in your oceans will not be impacted because a few plastic straws were taken off the counter, look at the scale of plastic pollution and it becomes apparent. Government inaction has also sparked communities to act, with city mayors trying to coordinate their efforts to tackle to climate change, and has that delivered deep carbon emission cuts required? Probably not.

In Hong Kong, the carbon emissions from buildings continue to increase, the latest EMSD data (latest data is 2016) reported building carbon emissions are still increasing, that was caused by us, you and me, using more energy, not the Government. Equally, it’s unsurprising, every year the number of buildings increases, using more energy.

Do nothing and wait is one strategy, waiting for the authorities to finally bite the bullet, create a plan, and implement it might be the ideal, but by then maybe too little too late.

sponsored by commissioning consultant

Lead, Rain, Basements and more

Lead-tainted water found at new housing estate RTHK LINK

Lead (Pb) 10 times higher than WHO standard has been identified in the water supply of a unit in the brand new Kwai Tsui public housing estate in Kwai Fong. Two other units were found slightly over the WHO limit. So it seems a repeat of the 2015 lead in water scandal is on the cards.

MTR Express rail station may open with leaky roof RTHK LINK

The leaking roof of the MTR express rail building can’t be fixed before it opens, so take your umbrella.

Hong Kong’s Highways Department admits there were water leakage problems with building at mega bridge but says they have been fixed SCMP LINK

Apparently, the vital electrical switchgear is located in the basement of the new Passenger Clearance Building (PCB) on the HongKong/Zhuhai/Macau bridge project. If the artificial island floods, or a water pipe breaks, water will inevitably fill the electrical equipment in the basement. #resilence 

Lawmakers urge govt to explain arts hub payments RTHK LINK

Apparently, the Ming Pao newspaper reported that the Hong Kong Government, aka the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, is directly paying 14 sub-contractors working at the West Kowloon M+ visual culture museum. And I hear you say, wait a minute, isn’t that exactly the job the Management Contractor to paid to do. Indeed.

 

Lead in Drinking Water Update:

  • 19-7-2018 – WSD is dispatching Water trucks to the news Kwai Tsui public housing estate in Kwai Fong on Thursday 19-7-2018, due to concerns over the reports of possible lead content. The key point it’s another new estate, only opened in April 2018 [RTHK]

sponsored by BEAM green building consultant

Kai Ching Estate has Quality Water Certification

The Kai Ching estate, in the middle of the Lead (Pb) ‘scandal’ and the Legionella case associated with Mun Ching House achieved the WSD (http://www.wsd.gov.hk) Quality Water Recognition Scheme for Buildings certification! (see image below). Lead (Pb) is not one of water quality parameters tested.

kai ching estate, lead, legionella, hong kong, water quality certificate

In the past I highlighted Hong Kong’s building water quality issues (here) but my office building is not listed above, I am certain that WSD will revise the criteria after this incident. So far Lead (Pb) contamination of the residents water has been detected in the following sites:

  1. Kai Ching Estate, Kowloon City
  2. Kwai Luen Estate, Kwai Chung
  3. Shui Chuen O Estate, Sha Tin

updated: 17 July 2015

Late yesterday (16 July 2015) WSD published a circular letter no. 1/2015 (Chinese only) online, dated 13 July 2015, it now requires Flats (subject to interpretation) to provide a declaration letter for No Lead in solder, and additional water quality testing parameters in the laboratory report, including:

Lead (Pb)  ≤10 μg/l
Cadmium (Cd)  ≤3 μg/l
Chromium (Cr)  ≤50 μg/l
Nickel (Ni)  ≤70 μg/l

Needless to add that these new requirements only apply to new water meter applications. However, the estimated to be 50,000 renovation projects per year, are not required to conduct any type of water quality test!


 

Building Water Quality Issues

hong kong quality water

Considering the water quality delivered to the tap, it is no wonder that Hong Kong people prefer bottled water, and boil water everyday.

Whilst the quality of our drinking water provided by our water utility (WSD) may reach world class standards, what comes out of the tap is a different matter. Improved plumbing systems, piping, tank installation, coupled with mandatory maintenance by Slam Plumbing are required to rebuild the confidence to use the potable water provided, learn more here. In my office the water (see photo above) is very poor indeed, would you drink it? And boiling all that water demands a lot energy, we are looking at approx. 9.28 MW everyday just to boil water.

Typically one main water storage water tank is provided in high rise buildings with thousands of residents. The building owner or operator may opt for a voluntary scheme, operated by WSD, known as the Quality Water Recognition Scheme for Buildings (QWRSB). Of course, that requires interrupting the occupants water service to conduct the necessary maintenance and tank cleansing work.