Work to replace lead water pipes in Taipei is 73 percent complete, surpassing the 60 percent goal set for this year, the Taipei City Government said yesterday.
Lead pipelines in Taipei are expected to be replaced by stainless steel equivalents by the end of next year, thanks to the accelerated progress, which moved the estimated completion date ahead by one year, the Taipei Water Department said.
The agency said that it embarked on a project to replace lead water pipes this year, after the issue received wide attention when legislators and Taipei city councilors in October last year drew attention to the potential health hazards associated with lead water pipes.
The department has finished replacing lead pipes in 12,876 out of 17,714 homes and establishments in Taipei, Department Commissioner Chen Chin-hsiang (陳錦祥) said.
The department prioritized pipe replacement work at hospitals, night markets, schools, in commercial districts and along road sections where there is a high density of lead pipes, Chen said.
However, 230 establishments refused to replace lead pipes connected to them, as the pipes run directly through their properties — meaning replacement work would necessitate the removal of floor tiles — or they were reluctant to have water meters moved from the backs to the fronts of their properties, Chen said, adding that his agency expects to encounter about 300 such buildings.
The department is to require property owners who do not want lead pipes replaced to sign affidavits stating that they are aware of the potential health hazards associated with their decisions, he said.
The department would conduct more water quality testing in areas where lead pipes run and continue communicating with people who are unwilling to replace lead pipes, he said.
The department said that it has finished replacing lead pipes in 11,383, or 60.8 percent, of establishments in New Taipei City’s Jhonghe (中和), Yonghe (永和), Sijhih (汐止), Sindian (新店) and Sanchong (三重) districts, but has not set a timeframe on when it would finish replacing pipes in the municipality.
Taipei Deputy Mayor Teng Chia-chi (鄧家基) said that buildings constructed before 1979 often used lead pipes.
If residents are uncertain whether their homes are connected to lead pipes, they can call the department on (02) 8733-5678 to find out, Teng said.
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