Pohang residents report rusty tap water issue

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Pohang residents report rusty tap water issue

Nearly 100 cases of rusty tap water have been reported in the North Gyeongsang city of Pohang in the past week, according to the Pohang city government.

“I tied a wet wipe to the faucet and let the water run through for about five minutes,” one resident of Ocheon, Pohang, wrote in an online community of Pohang residents last week. “And look at it now, it’s completely blackened. There are bits of black powder on it, too, and I don’t know if it is dirt or something else.”

A photo uploaded by the netizen showed a wet wipe with a brown circle in the middle and a black and brown dust-like substance sprinkled on and around it.

“I use the tap water to make baby formula,” wrote another user. “Somebody at the city government had better come up with a response soon.”

The deputy mayor of Pohang hosted an emergency meeting on Saturday.

The city government has since opened a booth at the Buyeong apartment complex in Ocheon, where rusty tap water has been reported in the highest numbers, for the residents to directly report to the government.

It also began cleaning the water tank of the apartment complex.

“We will have to see if the water quality improves after cleaning the tank,” said an employee of the Yugang water purification plant in the city that provides the water to the apartment.

The city government also inspected the quality of water at 79 other locations that receive water from the plant and said that the water quality at these places was safe for drinking.

“We have a water filtering system to filter any manganese or iron that may be inside the tap water,” an official of the Pohang city government told the JoongAng Ilbo. “The water provided to each household is safe for drinking. The filter may turn brown when bits of manganese or iron pass through it, but experts say that because it has been filtered, the water should be safe.”

The city government tentatively concluded that manganese or iron may have oxidized in the process of treating the water with chlorine but added that it will create a team with the Ministry of Environment to inspect the cases more thoroughly.

Meanwhile, some residents have resorted to buying bottled water.

A total of 96 reports of rusty tap water have been received by the city government from Aug. 5 to Monday.

But Pohang is not the only city struggling with this issue.

Hundreds of schools and homes in Incheon have been reporting rusty tap water since late May, with some of them still experiencing the problem, according to a group of residents.

“In some areas in the city we still have rusty water running out of the faucets,” said a member of a civic committee of residents of Seo District, Incheon, in a press conference held at the Incheon city hall on Sunday. “We cannot agree to the mayor’s announcement [on Aug. 5] that all is back to normal.”

BY BAEK KYUNG-SEO, ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]
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