Staffs from the Hà Nội Centre for Disease Control collect water samples for test. — Photo hanoimoi.com.vn
Nguyễn Thị Kiều Anh, deputy director of the Hà Nội Centre for Disease Control, talks to Hà Nội mới (New Hà Nội) newspaper on the need to apply high tech in the tap water supply system
What are the operational procedures for the Hà Nội tap water supply system?
Under a decision released by Hà Nội People’s Committee, the Hà Nội Department of Construction is the State management authority on tap water supply in the city, including water quality and the water running system to ensure the water is safe for use. Meanwhile the Department of Health is assigned to periodically check the water quality while the Hà Nội Centre for Disease Control must make sure it is safe for the people to use in close co-operation with commune and district health centres.
In 2019, water quality has been checked regularly and water has met all safety requirements set by the Ministry of Health.
According to the law, water plant authorities must ensure the water produced from the plants meets all technical requirements. But in reality, some water safety requirements have not been met. Why is that?
Almost all water supply plants have their own laboratories to ensure their water meets all 109 required safety criteria. In addition, water plants can send their water to any laboratory to check water quality. However, to ensure all the water is safe for people to consume, the medical service has regularly conducted its own random checks at water plants. If any low quality water is detected, the plant is fined immediately. This is a very effective way to avoid cheating.
Can you talk in detail about the technical criteria required for drinking tap water?
Any running water that authorities think is safe for people to drink from the tap must meet the technical standards set by the Ministry of Health QCVN6.1:2010 which is now only applied for mineral water and water bottles. Until now, there is no such a set of technical quality applied for tap water in Việt Nam.
If any water plant authority declares their tap water is safe to drink should people listen?
In many foreign countries, the water supply runs directly from the water plant to each household. So the authorities of the water plant have to take full responsibility for the quality of their water. But for our case, water doesn’t go directly to the households, but to huge public water tanks in all living quarters before it is pumped to each household. This has made the water become a bit contaminated. Adding to that the water pipes in Việt Nam, in general, are not 100 per cent free from contamination and in many localities the water pipes are comprised of both new and old pipes. This is one of the causes making water contaminated.
Last but not least, the accumulated dirt in water tanks has also become a source for water contamination. — VNS