In a bid to tackle water-pollution problems and increase water efficiency, new pollution regulations will be implemented soon, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said yesterday.
The EPA estimates that more than 16,000 firms will be affected by the new regulations.
The new EPA rules will see treated household sewage from communities or schools used for plant watering and dust-control measures on the nation's roads.
"However, treated sewage water should meet standards ensuring that both soil and groundwater will not be contaminated," Cheng Shean-rong (鄭顯榮), director-general of the EPA's Bureau of Water Quality Protection, said at a press conference yesterday.
Cheng said the waste water should also pose no threat to workers during the cleansing process.
Cheng said the new regulations were triggered by discussions about water efficiency last year, when Taiwan suffered its worst-ever drought in 20 years.
During the drought, Taipei City Government issued administrative orders to allow treated household waste water to be be used to control dust on the roads and to water plants.
To further promote water conservation, the EPA said yesterday that industrial waste water meeting industrial effluent standards will be reused, though not for the purposes of soil treatment.
"However, projects need to be approved in advance by the local environmental authority overseeing any firm that wishes to take advantage of the new regulations," Cheng said.
If factories want to recycle waste water for their own production, the water doesn't have to meet industrial effluent standards, Cheng said.
In addition, the EPA has loosened regulations on the transportation of industrial-waste water. In the past, industrial-waste water could only be transported by pipes connecting factories. New regulations will allow the transportation of industrial waste water by trucks.
EPA officials said the closure of factories in industrial complexes left some sewage systems installed unused. New regulation will create more business opportunities for the treatment of waste water from factories outside industrial complexes.
Meanwhile, new regulations also require reports from the Environmental Impacts Assessment on the discharging of treated waste water to the environment from animal husbandry, aquaculture, zoos and sugar plantations.
"We have to ensure that organic waste water discharged by these industries will cause limited impacts on the soil," Cheng said.
Eleven regulations on water-pollution control will be implemented by the end of this month.
According to EPA deputy administrator Chang Chu-en (張祖恩), the establishment of new regulations will complete the existing Water Pollution Control Act (水污染防治法).