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Seoul eyes export of bottled tap water


SEOUL, June 3 (Yonhap) -- The Seoul municipal government is mulling exporting its tap water as part of efforts to promote its high quality and the city's advanced drinking water treatment system, officials said Monday.

Apart from providing "Arisu" to 10 million citizens here, the city produces some 8 million 350-milliliter bottles of the tap water per year and supplies them to the Presidential Office and various international conferences in Seoul for free.

The Office of Waterworks under the Seoul Metropolitan Government is weighing the sale of Arisu, the old name of the Han River that cuts through the capital, in overseas markets after blind tests have confirmed its good taste and high quality, according to the officials.

The city will first target China and East Asian countries, and plans to further expand its market.

"Arisu tastes even better now as we have adopted the advanced ozone and granular activated carbon purification technology that minimizes the effects of taste-altering and odor-inducing substances, including the chlorine odor," said Kim Hyung-kyu, an official at the city's waterworks management department.

It meets all 155 quality evaluation items recommended by the World Health Organization for drinking water, and has been approved by international entities such as NSF International and UL, the U.S.-based independent public health organizations.

"To make inroads into foreign markets, we plan to revise a local law that bans selling the water," Kim said. "We expect the bottled water to help promote not only the product itself but also the city's know-how for drinking water treatment."

The city had reviewed a plan to sell the tap water in the local market but decided against it out of concern that such a move could be misunderstood as a precursor to the privatization of the waterworks management.

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