River's water 'like treated sewage'

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 May, 2009, 12:00am

The quality of water in the Shing Mun River is no better than treated sewage, a test commissioned by a political party has found.

The study, supported by New Century Forum, used samples taken on May 12. It measured a value, biological oxygen demand (BOD), a calculation of how fast organisms use up the oxygen in the water and a common indicator of water quality.

The results, released yesterday, found that the water had a five-day BOD value of 50 milligrams per litre, a level similar to that of treated sewage. This compared to 1mg per litre for a pristine river and 2-8mg per litre for moderately polluted rivers.

The study also measured chemical oxygen demand (COD), which indicates the amount of organic compounds in water. The water had a five-day COD of 160. The BOD and COD values were respectively about 10 times and five times higher than the standards set by the Environmental Protection Department.

The test also found 230mg per litre of suspended solids, which is more than nine times the value set by the department.

Sha Tin district councillor Scarlett Pong Oi-lan called on the government to improve the water quality of the river immediately by tracking down the source of waste and stepping up litter cleanups.