Identifying the gaps in practice for combating lead in drinking water in Hong Kong

Wai Ling Lee, Jie Jia, Yani Bao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Excessive lead has been found in drinking water in Hong Kong in tests carried out in 2015. Investigations have identified that the problem in public rental housing estates was caused by the problematic solders used in the plumbing, and recommendations on enhancing the quality control system and strengthening the relevant water quality standards have been proposed. The cause for the same problem happening in other premises where soldering has not been adopted for water pipe connections is left unidentified. Considering the unidentified cause and the recommendations made, this study aims to identify the gaps in practice followed in Hong Kong for safeguarding the water quality of new installations. A holistic review of governing ordinances and regulations, products and materials used and the testing and commissioning requirements adopted in Hong Kong and elsewhere in the world were conducted. Based on international practices and parametric analysis, it was found that there are gaps in practices followed in Hong Kong, which are directly and indirectly leading to the lead-in-water crisis. Recommendations for improvement in the quality control system, and the water quality standards including the allowable lead content and leaching limit for products and materials and the testing and commissioning requirements on plumbing installations have been made. The review and the identified gaps would become useful reference for countries in strengthening their relevant water quality standards.
Original languageEnglish
Article number970
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • Allowable lead contents
  • Engineering aspects
  • Lead in water
  • Quality control system
  • Regulations and ordinances
  • Testing and commissioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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