Environment
Hanoi's tap water contaminated with toxic substance
  • | dtinews.vn | October 16, 2019 12:51 PM
Authorities in Hanoi have warned local people that tap water in some districts including Ha Dong, Thanh Xuan, and Hoang Mai is contaminated with styrene, a carcinogenic substance.



Hanoi city chairman Nguyen Duc Chung confirms at a meeting on October 15 that the tap water provided by the Vinaconex Water Supply Joint Stock Company is contaminated with styrene.

At a meeting with President Nguyen Phu Trong and residents in these districts on Tuesday morning, Hanoi city chairman Nguyen Duc Chung confirmed that the tap water provided by the Vinaconex Water Supply Joint Stock Company (Viwasupco) is contaminated, with tests showing styrene levels in the water to be nearly four times higher than normal in some areas.

"We have asked the company to clean all the pipes and water storage tanks in the area and in the meantime, people should not use tap water for cooking and drinking," the official said.


Addressing a press meeting on the issue held on Tuesday afternoon, director of the Hanoi Construction Department, Le Van Duc confirmed that the tap water contamination was caused by oil discharged at a stream near the reservoir of the Da River Water Plant.

"The Viwasupco which operates the Da River Water Plant noticed the oil leaking into the reservoir since the morning of October 8 but did not report to local officials in Hoa Binh where the plant locates and Hanoi and continued to supply water to Hanoi," Duc said.



Director of the Hanoi Construction Department, Le Van Duc confirmed that the tap water contamination was caused by oil discharged at a stream near the reservoir of the Da River Water Plant.

It was not until residents in some districts in Hanoi reported a smell similar to burning plastic coming from their tap water supplied by the plant that local authorities started an investigation.


Police in Hoa Binh Province are seeking an unidentified 2.5-tonne truck that dumped oil into the stream near their reservoir.



Contaminated water at the stream near the reservoir of the Da River Water Plant. Photo taken on October 14

Hanoi officials say the company needs to take responsibility.


Deputy head of the Vietnam Environment Administration, Hoang Van Thuc, called the water pollution a "serious and irresponsible act of vandalism" that has affected thousands in Hanoi.

Hanoi is now supplying free water to those affected.


Residents at Gemek 1 Apartment Building in Hoai Duc District queue to take free water at 11pm on October 15


At the meeting, when questioned about their failure to inform Hanoi authorities about the problem at the water plant, Viwasupco's director, Nguyen Van Ton said that the company wanted to treat the oil first.

"We mobilised all the staff and hired local people to collect the oil right after detecting it on October 8," he said.

"We also cleaned about 10 kilometres of pipes and all the tanks on the evening of October 9 and water test results then showed normal," he added. "On October 10 we received reports from customers and the media about the strange smell in tap water in Hanoi and carried out further tests.


Viwasupco's director, Nguyen Van Ton apologised for not having reported the incident to the public.

Explaining why the company continued to supply water while waiting for the test results, Ton said that he was afraid that the water cut would affect a large number of people while there are no specific reasons for that cut.


He apologised for not having reported the incident to the public.

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