Legionella bacteria now found in HK housing estate’s lead-heavy water

As a scare over excessive amounts of lead found in the water supply of a Kowloon City housing estate deepens, the public learns that’s not the only nasties they’ve got to contend with.

Legionella bacteria, which can cause respiratory failure and death in extreme cases, was found in the kitchen and bathroom of a 72-year-old man who was recently admitted to hospital with breathing problems, reports the SCMP.

He lives in Mun Ching House, one of six buildings on the Kai Ching Estate where lead levels exceeding World Health Organisation standards have been discovered in recent days.

Hong Kong’s Housing Department has vowed to disinfect all blocks, while a doctor from the Centre for Health Protection urged Mun Ching House residences to used boiled water for showering and brushing their teeth. Watch out for burns!

The government has also promised to set up a task force to investigate how lead got into the water supply in all six buildings.

Qualified plumber Lam Tak-sun, who fitted all the pipes in question, is professing his (partial) innocence, saying that as many of the pipes were pre-fabricated in mainland China, he cannot be held fully responsible.

However, investigations so far suggestion that not all of the pre-fabricated pipes contain lead, while some of the locally made ones do.

It seems we can’t blame the mainland for everything, sigh.

The department is now discussing replacing all pipes at the estate as well as taking water samples from the Kowloon City Government Officers and a Chinese University dorm, both of which were also handled by Lam.

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