Lead pipeline scandal expands to New Taipei

by Matthew Strong

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The discovery of water pipelines containing lead on Friday expanded to New Taipei City, where at least 256 segments of such piping were discovered.

The scandal started in Taipei City, where 605 road sections used such pipes, mostly in the districts of Wanhua, Datong, Daan and Zhongzheng. The city promised the potentially polluting lines would be replaced within three years.

In New Taipei City, more than 10,000 households in the districts of Sanchong, Zhonghe, Yonghe and Xindian were affected, reports said.

The city government was accused of only supplying incomplete and vague information, making it difficult for residents to find out if they were affected or not. As a result, New Taipei City councilors from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party on Friday morning published a full list of the pipelines in order to dispel the fears of residents.

Schools, hospitals, kindergartens and retirement homes were among those institutions in New Taipei City affected by the lead pipelines, the politicians said.

The discovery of lead in the pipelines has lead to fears by local residents over cancer risks and the impact on the intelligence levels of children.

The authorities in both Taipei and New Taipei have come under fire from the public and politicians for being unable to provide precise and detailed information about where the pipelines lie and which homes and other buildings they were likely to affect. The fact that many were installed several decades ago has also been held responsible for the absence of available information.

All over Taiwan, a total of 36,000 households might be affected. Taichung City said Friday no such pipelines had been found on its territory.

(Image courtesy of CNA)
(Image courtesy of CNA)

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