Vietnam's urban tap water seriously polluted: health ministry

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A bucket of polluted tap water collected at a house in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo credit: Lao Dong A bucket of polluted tap water collected at a house in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo credit: Lao Dong

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Between 20-25 percent of water plants in Ho Chi Minh City and several Mekong Delta provinces supply substandard tap water to users, Lao Dong (Labor) newspaper has reported, citing a new survey conducted by the the Ministry of Health.
Up to 20 percent of these plants, which supply water to millions, contain properties that exceed the nation's safety standards; 10-15 percent fail to meet microorganism requirements.
According to the HCMC Department of Preventive Health, the general population relies on tap water sourced from the Dong Nai and Saigon rivers, which are polluted beyond the city's treatment capacity, the agency said.
In July, the health ministry inspected three major water plants in HCMC, including Thu Duc, Phong Phu and Binh Chanh.
The team found high concentrations of manganese and iron and insufficient levels of chlorine at multiple locations.
Meanwhile, tap water samples taken from houses in District 8, Binh Tan and Nha Be contain no chlorine whatsoever.
Without chlorine, coliform bacteria can easily thrive, as evidenced by samples taken from several pumping stations, the ministry reported.

Tap water is seriously polluted at a house in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo credit: Lao Dong
 
Phan Trong Lan, director of the Pasteur Institute in HCMC, said many neighborhoods on the city's outskirts lack access to tap water or sufficient water pressure.
“In many wards in District 12, only one percent of residents use tap water. Others rely on well water or unhygienic water sold by locals,” he said.
Meanwhile, in Hanoi, the health ministry found 20 of 196 tap water samples did not meet safety requirements. 
The survey, which polled a number of homes, 16 water plants and seven pump stations in Hanoi, found high concentrations of manganese, cancer-causing arsenic, ammoniac and Coliform bacteria.

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