Go to contents

Tap Water? Not In My House

Posted August. 29, 2003 23:43,   


Contrary to Seoul Metropolitan Government`s strong drive to promote the cleanness and safety of tap water, most of high-ranking officials in the city government was found not to drink tap water. With the help of professional survey agencies, this paper called to 54 households of high-ranking officials in the city government including the mayor Lee Myeong-bak to know what kind of water they drink in their houses. 38 households replied and only two households answered that they drink tap water. Three households answered they drink both tap water and boiled water while four households answered that they drink only boiled tap water.

On the other hand, the biggest number of households, 21 of respondents, drink water filtered through water purifiers. Seven households said they drink mineral water and one household answered that they boil the filtered water from water purifiers and drink it.

The director of Seoul Metropolitan Waterworks Headquarters, Sin Dong-u and the chief of the Waterworks Research Institute answered that they drink tap water in their houses. They are overseeing the quality management and research of tap water in Seoul. Director Sin cited the reliability of tap water and chief Park cited good taste and cleanness of tap water as a reason for drinking tap water.

Out of four-mayor groups, two households answered the survey. Mayor Lee Myeong-bak`s house replied they drink both tap water and boiled tap water while the vice president Choi Jae-beon`s house said they drink filtered water as it is assumed to have better water quality. The director of the Institute of Health and Environment Kim Myeong-hee and the chief of secretary Jang Su-kil answered that they drink tap water and boiled tap water in their houses.

Asked why they do not drink tap water at all, 11 households cited uncleanness of tap water and 6 households cited uncertainty over the possible use of chemicals. Four households cited impure materials in tap water.

A household of a surveyed official said that negative perception on tap water has made them not to drink piped water. Another said that even though they want to believe the good quality of tap water, they cannot help having uncertainties over possible impure elements in tap water.

Seoul Metropolitan City government has been engaged in an active publicity campaign for the safety of tap water until the first half of this year since May, 2001. The city government distributed 1.3 PET bottles of tap water to many conferences. Last month, the city government chose famous announcer Jeong Eun-a as a symbol representing the work of Waterworks Headquarters. The city government has also put in place a system to manage the quality of tap water. In the system, an official visits the house of a citizen at the request to allay fears over the possible pollution of tap water in water tanks at the top of apartments.

The director of Waterworks Headquarters, Sin Dong-u said that “the survey results seem to reflect high ranking officials` concerns over possible pollution of tap water at water pipes or water tanks of apartments even though they trust the quality of tap water.”

The director said that his agency will advise citizens as well as Seoul city government officials to check the quality of tap water at their houses through the city`s water quality check system while embarking on a campaign emphasizing that people can drink a clean tap water without boiling.

Wan-Bae Lee roryrery@donga.com