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Beijing Tap Water Now Safe to Drink
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Beijing has become the first city in China to meet the required safety standards of potable water.

The Beijing municipal water authority said water in the capital had passed all 106 tests for contaminants as required by new national standards that took effect on Sunday.

"Beijing met the standards at the end of last year," Yu Yaping, official with the water authority told China Daily yesterday. "As industry insiders, we received the standards a long time ago. We immediately took action to improve the capital's drinking water quality," Yu said.

Fan Kangping, director of the water quality center of Beijing Waterworks Group, said the city's water had been potable since 2003.

"The Ministry of Construction, as one of our administrative authorities, issued water quality regulations consisting of 101 standards many years ago," Fan said.

However, complaints have been received from people about the metallic taste of the water and its unpleasant smell in the south part of the city.

"That is the result of secondary pollution," Yu said.

"Old tap water pipes are responsible for the bad taste."

It is estimated 7,000 km of underground pipes transport water to 16 million residents.

Some pipes were laid 50 to 60 years ago, according to a source close to the water authority.

"We have a dilemma. The water piped out is clean and safe but gets contaminated before it reaches users," Fan said.

The Beijing Waterworks Group supplies about 600 to 700 million cubic meters of drinking water every year.

(China Daily July 3, 2007)

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