For Safety of Tap Water

Seoul City holds 2nd Arisu Festival to show tap water is safe to drink

The Water Works Office of the Seoul Metropolitan Government held the 2nd Arisu Festival on September 1 to boost the tap waters'image and understanding among residents in Seoul.
The festivity held at the Family Ground in Ttuksom, Seoul, unfurled various diversified events to make the day truly a significant one. Seoul City first opened its tap water system on September 1, 1908.
The event was divided into two large parts. In the first part, citizens were invited to "Experience Arisu."There were "blind test"of three cups of water: tap water, filtered tap water, and bottled water. Many people said that tap water tastes best.
"ce Cafe" was another fun for people. Various drinks made with Arisu including those with fruits and green tea made the event more interesting. They also gave the visitors tips of making Arisu more tasty: keep it cool, add some green tea or vitamin C.
The event also included "Arisu Information Corner'where the history of the Water Works Office,
the process of making tap water in purification plants, the science of tap water were exhibited.
Outside of the information corner, three human-fountains attracted children. They spurted Arisu dressed in white costumes.
In the second part held at sundown, a performance stage for well-known singers took place and the singers included Maya, Paran, Tuttle, In-soony, Tae Jin-ah, and Lee Ki-chan to name some, to make the event more congratulatory and colorful.
The event also saw the appointments of well-known entertainers as publicity ambassadors including comedian Kim Yong-man, singer Kim Heung-kook, and an actress Koh Eun-ah to help publicize the superb quality of Arisu as a drinking water.
The event's highlight took the form of floating balloons carrying postcards with the messages of hope written by the participants including Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon and publicity ambassadors. Officials of Seoul City said the balloons in the "Balloons of Hope 9001"were a symbol of hope for every Seoul citizen that their city would be the most attractive one in the world.
Seoul City launched its program to expand the drinking of tap water among residents in Seoul because many of them have not trusted the quality of the city's tap water as drinking water. Many of them still think that piped water in Seoul is unsafe to drink due to old metal pipes and excessive amount of chlorine. In fact most of the pipes in Seoul were replaced for last 20 years, and the chlorine level is under the strict control.
The city named its campaign "Drink Arisu Any Time, Any Place,"and installed the tap in a number of key locations in the capital city to convince the citizens that the tap water is safe to drink. Municipal officials said tap water in Seoul is safe to drink. The city named its tap water, "Arisu,"in a move to get more people to use tap water. Arisu is an ancient name of the Han River which dissects Seoul, meaning a great river or great water in terms of ancient Korean language spoken at the time of Goguryo Dynasty.
The office operated "Arisu Publicity Corners"at where PET bottles,
each containing 350 ml of Arisu, were offered free of charge to subway passengers. Each center handed out 3,000 bottles of Arisu per day during the period between September 12 and October 25 to raise the profile of the tap water brand name. The corners also conducted a tap water quality management system in which tap water samples from each house were checked and a certification for quality tap water was issued. The tap water quality management system was set up to ensure the quality of tap water.
The Seoul City has done all it can to assure citizens that piped water in the city is safe to drink. It employed the help of wards, dongs and bans, the city's administrative networks paid calls on homes who want to have their tap water quality checked for residual chlorine and turbidity. The dispatched officials made checks on the conditions of water tanks and in-house tap water pipelines, for impure material in the water supply system. They issued the certificates to show that the quality of water is good.
They displayed the outcomes of tests on tap water; water treated it with purifiers and bottled water on the market in the presence of applicants who want to see the testing first-hand.
A survey of 1,000 apartment units, conducted in 2004, showed that the percentage of respondents who use Arisu drawing directly form the tap without purifying it soared from the previous 2.4 percent to 11.3 percent, indicating a surging rate of increase in the number of households using tap water. Representatives of three parties- a city tap water committee, apartments and the Waterworks Office jointly collected samples of tap water, water treated with purifiers and bottled water and assigned their testing to third- party private laboratories, not to state-run or public ones. All the tap water samples from the three apartment complexes including Okin Apartments in the Jong-no Ward, passed the tests, but a few purified water and bottled water samples failed.
Seoul City officials said the outcome of the pilot program,
designed to raise the trust of tap water and solve residents'complaints and grievances, indicated that the relevant residents'public rating for tap water have surged substantially because the testing was assigned to the third- party and private research institutions.
They said the programs showed no problems in the tap water flow process ranging from water treatment plant and water meters, which is under direct jurisdiction of the Waterworks Office, since a great portion of worn-out and rusty pipelines, causing leaks and impurity of water were replaced. They went on to indicate that pipelines inside the houses and water tanks for apartments have been causing more problems, which should be taken care of by each household.
The Waterworks Office has improved its work significantly. The office posted the retrieval rate or the ratio of charged tap water at 88 percent, close to the level of advanced countries as of May, 2005, a whopping 15.4 percent point surge from 72.6 percent in May 2001.
They attributed the successful rate to the replacement of rusty pipelines and efficiently repair leaks across the water distribution system. nw




Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon, second from left, is with Arisu publicity ambassadors at the Arisu Festival.


(photos from above) Arisu Festival participants watch performers on stage; Participants enjoy Arisu drink with ice; Participants help themselves with the drink.

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