Tue, Oct 29, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Taipower may appeal Taichung fines

PROCEDURAL FLAWS:While agreeing with Taichung’s decision on one pollution incident, the utility said the city did not give it time to respond to two other cases

By Kao Shih-ching  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) is considering an appeal after the Taichung City Government fined it NT$60 million (US$1.96 million) for pollution by its Taichung Power Plant. Taipower cited procedural flaws in the decision.

The Taichung Environmental Protection Bureau earlier yesterday said tests showed that the coal-fired power plant had discharged wastewater containing high levels of the chemical boron.

In a test at one site on Sept. 19, wastewater from the plant’s Nos. 5 to 8 generators was found to contain 121mg per liter (mg/L) of boron — 24 times the regulatory limit of 5mg/L.

Two other tests at different sites on Thursday showed that wastewater from generators Nos. 1 to 4 and Nos. 9 to 10 contained 134mg/L and 141mg/L of boron respectively, or 26 and 28 times the limit, the bureau said in a statement.

As a result, the city government fined the plant NT$20 million for each infraction, according to the Water Pollution Control Act (水污染防治法), bureau Director-General Wu Chih-chao (吳志超) said.

The city government also demanded that Taipower submit an improvement plan by Nov. 15 and complete the recommended improvements in December, while it would continue testing the plant’s wastewater and issue fines for violations, Wu said.

Taipower said it respects the NT$20 million fine for its management of wastewater from generators Nos. 5 to 8, but does not agree with the other two, company spokesman Hsu Tsao-hua (徐造華) said.

“The local bureau tested the two other sites just four days ago and suddenly announced that it was issuing fines, without giving us a chance to state our opinion, which we believe is a procedural flaw,” Hsu said by telephone.

Taipower has told the city government that it would set up a new wastewater treatment facility at the plant by the end of this year, after it was fined in April by the city government for wastewater containing high levels of nitrate nitrogen, Hsu said.

“It is the city government’s right to conduct tests, but we think it was just aiming to fine us, as it knew the plant would not be able to meet the standards because the treatment facility is still under construction,” he said.

Hsu urged the city government to approve its application later this month for the establishment of the treatment facility.

As of yesterday, Taichung Power Plant has stopped discharging any wastewater as it does not want to be fined again, Hsu added.

The plant has halved the output of generators Nos. 1 to 8 and allowed the wastewater to circulate internally, he said.

While it is not a good way to operate, as the wastewater could damage the generators, it should be fine until the plant is able to discharge wastewater again in December, he said.

Taichung Power Plant is the nation’s largest coal-fired plant with a total capacity of 5,500 megawatts, and has been the target of environmentalists in recent years over pollution issues.

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