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LCQ2 : Safety of underground drainage facilities

Following is a question by the Hon Mrs Sophie Leung and a reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works, Dr Sarah Liao, in the Legislative Council meeting today (June 6) :

Question:

Regarding the safety of underground drainage facilities in Hong Kong, will the Government inform this Council:

(a)  whether currently there is a mechanism for monitoring, on a regular basis, underground drainage facilities and assessing if there is leakage; if so, of the details;

(b)  as the underground drainage facilities are ageing gradually, whether the Government has plans to replace or renovate the drains to prevent accidents caused by pipe leakage or burst, which endanger the safety of the public; and

(c)  of the details of the current responsibilities of and division of work among the relevant government departments, such as the Buildings Department, Highways Department, Water Supplies Department and Drainage Services Department, in relation to the operation and safety of underground drainage facilities?

Reply:

Madam President,

(a)  In order to ensure that the underground drainage facilities in Hong Kong are structurally sound and functioning properly, the Government implements a preventive inspection programme to regularly and systematically monitor the facilities.  Apart from routine inspection, desilting and maintenance, the programme includes closed circuit television investigation or man-entry inspection for major drains in every five to ten years to inspect the internal structural conditions.  Based on the inspection results, relevant works departments such as the Drainage Services Department will assess the condition of the drainage structures and joints.  If the structures or joints of the drainage facilities are found to be defective, strengthening, renovation or replacement of the facilities will be taken forward as soon as possible.

(b)  The underground drains are durable because they are usually made of materials such as precast concrete and not operating under pressure.  Moreover, relevant works departments such as the Drainage Services Department will regularly carry out the preventive inspection programme for early identification of abnormal pipe leakage or fractures.  Based on their inspection results, suitable strengthening, renovation or replacement works will be carried out for better public safety.  According to the assessments of the relevant departments, existing public drains are on the whole found to be in sound condition and there is no need to implement a comprehensive drainage rehabilitation, renovation or replacement programme.

(c)  The general arrangements for maintenance and repair of public drains are as follows:

(i)  The Drainage Services Department is responsible for the maintenance and repair of drains within its purview.

(ii)  The Highways Department is responsible for the maintenance and repair of road drainage systems collecting runoff from roads, structures like bridges and tunnels and roadside slopes that are within its purview.

(iii)  The Housing Department is responsible for the maintenance and repair of drains within its housing estates.

(iv)  Other departments, including the Water Supplies Department, are responsible for the maintenance and repair of drains within their respective purview.

Landowners are responsible for the maintenance and repair of drainage systems on private land. This is subject to the control of the Buildings Department under the Buildings Ordinance.

End/Wednesday, June 6, 2007

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