Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

A collection of articles created during my stint as a journalist at The Macau Daily Times

Burst pipes, rusty pipes cause concern for water company

Posted by Kimberly on July 4, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
July 04, 2007, page 2 (730 words)


Macao Water is urging residents and property management companies to be more aware of the state of their water tanks and pipes.
In 2006, there were 170 cases of burst pipes with more than 250 cases of rusty pipes.
Speaking from the head office, Mr Oscar Chu, Deputy General Manager at Macao Water said, “In the past few years we have noticed there is an increased number of pipe bursts or leakages inside private properties.
“Apart from the repair and maintenance of these pipes, we would like to raise the awareness of the cleanliness and regular maintenance of those water tanks.
“We noticed that some of the tanks in some buildings look like they have never been cleaned since the first use of the building,” he said.
Many residents may not be aware that the responsibility of the water supply company ends at the locked boundary of any property.
“So any problem related to water supply, infrastructure or system beyond the locked boundary is the responsibility of all the home owners inside that particular buildings,” said Mr Chu, adding that the  property management company concerned is responsible for the maintenance and repair of such problems.
“Most people are not aware of this,” said Mr Chu.
“They think they get the water from the water company and so are not aware of this part.
“It’s something that they have to do to maintain a good and healthy internal supply system,” he said.
The company has recently been promoting a general awareness of maintaining  a clean water tank through education programs and seminars.
“At present there is no regulation in place to make people clean their water tanks at regular intervals,” said Mr Chu.
“We just have a general advice; to clean your water tanks no less than no times a year.
“Of course this will depend on the size of the water tank, the cleanliness of the tank and also the occupancy rate,” he said, adding that if there were only a few tenants, then chances of the water store becoming stagnant through lack of use was higher.
“That’s why it’s difficult to implement a strict guideline or regulation to say ‘you must clean your tank every three, four or six months.’ It really depends on the condition of your system,” he said.
He stresses that a continuous monitoring of the quality of the water inside the building was necessary.
“If it is not normal, you can contact us or you can contact the IACM. They are responsible for monitoring the water quality.
“They will send someone to check it out without charge. But if people ask Macao Water to do it they will be charged,” he said.
He says that during the contruction phase, materials used should be of premium quality such as stainless steel or the internal pipelines will rust very quickly.
“It causes too many problems. One, it affects the water quality because of all the rust. Secondly, because it becomes rusting, it causes leakage and eventually the pipe will burst.
“This will affect the supply to your flat or even your whole building.
“In the last few years we have received more and more requests for our help to deal with this kind of problem but of course we charge for our service,” he said.
According to Mr Chu, stainless steel can last between 40 and 50 years.
While the cost is a little steep, rising from between a few thousand patacas to tens of thousands of patacas depending on the scale of the work, Mr Chu believes it is a small price to pay.
“In the past few years we have done some seminars with the property management company association, with the construction association and also real estate developers to promote the concept of using premium quality material in the connecting pipe,” he said.
“We have received very positive feedback from them so far.”
He adds that even though the company has done its part, they need support from the devlopers and construction companies.
For those concerned, Mr Chu said that any building that was more than 20 years old was about 50 percent more likely to have this problem.
“In the last six months we have completed more than 40 cases of repair. But that is only those cases that we have fixed. We still have files piled high up on the desk,” he said.


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