Do not blame officials for lead scandal, says Lam

NO government officials should be held responsible for the lead-water fiasco, Chief Secretary for Administration (政務司司長) Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor (林鄭月娥) said.

Meanwhile, two more plumbers were exposed by the media for being responsible for the incident. Another one had already been named in July. They were believed to be responsible for soldering material used in water pipe installation, which was seen as the reason for excessive lead in the water.

One of them is responsible for soldering water pipes in three estates, while the other is responsible for six of the 11 public housing estates with excessive lead. The two plumbers were not available for comment.

Lam said the government will follow up with the contractors and sub-contractors according to signed contracts and waterworks laws.

But her defence failed to satisfy Democratic Party’s Emily Lau Wai-hing (劉慧卿), who asked how the government could escape responsibility when officials established the systems.

Pro-establishment lawmaker Christopher Chung Shukun (鍾樹根) said: “The government has just woken up to review its monitoring system when news broke about this. It has always been inadequate.”

Lawmakers asked if the government will waive water fees or rents to compensate affected public housing tenants. Lam said the government will cautiously study this suggestion.

Acting Secretary for Transport and Housing Yau Shingmu (邱誠武) said the government will test water in public housing estates built before 2005 even if such estates are considered low risk for lead contamination.

(The Standard, 9 October, 2015)