Tue, Oct 08, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Taichung Power Plant generators at risk over pollution

Staff writer, with CNA

Smoke rises from the Taichung Power Plant smokestacks on April 30.

Photo courtesy of Taichung Environmental Protection Bureau

The Taichung City Government might order the Taichung Power Plant to suspend the operation of four generators after the plant was found to have discharged polluted wastewater for the fourth time this year.

Tests conducted on Sept. 19 on wastewater from the plant’s Nos. 5, 6, 7 and 8 generators found a level of boron — at 121 milligrams per liter (mg/L) — that was 24 times higher than the maximum allowable level of 5mg/L, Taichung Environmental Protection Bureau Director Wu Chih-chao (吳志超) said.

Boron can cause male reproductive toxicity and has been linked to birth defects if consumed by pregnant women.

It was the fifth time this year the coal-fired plant has contravened environmental protection laws, having discharged polluted wastewater containing nitrate nitrogen on Jan. 9, March 6 and March 21, while wastewater containing suspended solids were found on April 10 in generators Nos. 1 through 4, he said.

The violations were uncovered in 15 random tests conducted over the first nine months of the year, he said.

The city government has ordered the plant to submit an improvement proposal within 14 days or face either a fine of NT$20 million (US$647,207) or a suspension of generators 5 through 8, he said.

The plant was fined a total of NT$25.62 million for the four earlier violations.

State-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) yesterday apologized for the latest violation, and said the plant is doing its best to improve its wastewater treatment capacity, with a new treatment facility expected to begin operations in December.

Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said suspending operation of four of the plant’s 10 generators would not create a power shortage.

Taiwan is operating at a reserve margin of 10 percent, which means a relatively stable power supply, Shen said.

Although the Taichung facility is the nation’s largest power plant, Taipower data showed that its generators only contribute about 15 percent of the nation’s annual power supply.

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