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Hanoi tap water ‘safe for consumption’ after contamination episode: city leader

Tuesday, October 22, 2019, 17:02 GMT+7
Hanoi tap water ‘safe for consumption’ after contamination episode: city leader
Vu Dang Dinh, chief of the Hanoi People’s Committee Office, speaks at a press conference giving updates on the tap water quality in Hanoi on October 22, 2019. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

The tap water in some areas of Hanoi that was contaminated earlier this month is now safe for consumption, the municipal administration said on Tuesday.

Residents in several districts of Hanoi said the tap water in their homes began smelling like burnt plastic on October 10.

Authorities later discovered that a truck had illegally dumped waste oil into a stream in the northern province of Hoa Binh two days previous.

The oil contaminated the nearby Da (Black) River, a crucial water source for a local water treatment plant run by the Song Da Water Investment JSC (Viwasupco), the supplier of tap water for several districts in the western part of Hanoi.

The polluted tap water affected an estimated 1.4 million people in these districts, according to unofficial numbers.

Waste matter flows into the Da (Black) River in Hoa Binh Province from a nearby stream, turning the river water into a blackish color. Photo: Le Hoang / Tuoi Tre
Waste matter flows into the Da (Black) River in Hoa Binh Province from a nearby stream, turning the river water into a blackish color. Photo: Le Hoang / Tuoi Tre

On Tuesday, nearly two weeks since the contamination episode began, the administration of Hanoi held a press conference to give updates on the tap water quality in the affected areas.

Vu Dang Dinh, chief of the Hanoi People’s Committee Office, said officials had been collecting water samples from the Da River, the Viwasupco water treatment plant, its storage tanks, as well as residential areas in eight Hanoi districts where tap water is sourced from the Viwasupco plant.

The samples were collected and tested daily, Dinh said.

“Results of the tests taken between October 16 and 21 showed that all parameters were up to Ministry of Health standards,” Dinh said.

“As of today, clean water sourced from the Da River is safe for residents to use in daily activities, [including] cooking and drinking.”

Residents at an apartment complex in Hoang Mai District, Hanoi wait for their turn to receive fresh water on October 16, 2019. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre
Residents at an apartment complex in Hoang Mai District, Hanoi wait for their turn to receive fresh water on October 16, 2019. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre

Specifically, all 69 samples tested over the six days contained styrene levels that adhered to Ministry of Health standards, he added.

More samples are being collected and tested every day by the local Center for Disease Control, with results being made public by the municipal Department of Health, the official said.

The testing will continue until the end of October, he said.

In the meantime, clean water from other treatment plants continues to be supplied to residents in the affected area, the chief of office said.

People queue for clean water in the rain in Hanoi. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre
People queue for clean water in the rain in Hanoi. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre

Two suspects allegedly responsible for contaminating the source of Hanoi’s tap water were arrested last Friday, while a third suspect turned himself in on Sunday.

The three men were purportedly hired to dispose of waste from a ceramics and tiles factory in the northern province of Phu Tho.

Vietnamese police have launched criminal proceedings into the case.

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