Wed, Jul 28, 2004 - Page 2 News List

EPA finds wastewater dumping

POLLUTERS Twelve tanneries, 162 farms and two construction dump sites were cited for environmental offenses after a six-month long investigation this year

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Secret disposal of untreated wastewater from tanneries and pig farms might lead to environmental catastrophe, according to the Environmental Protection Admin-istration (EPA) yesterday.

The agency yesterday released results of its inspections of tanneries, pig farms and construction dumps in the first six months of this year, saying that several site managers had failed to treat wastewater appropriately.

Twelve tanneries, 162 farms and two construction material dump sites were listed as serious water polluters, while the EPA also found 30 hidden pipes discharging untreated wastewater into rivers.

According to Leu Horng-guang (呂鴻光), director-general of the Bureau of Water Quality Protection, the chemical oxygen demand (COD) value for wastewater produced by 114 regulated tanneries nationwide is estimated at 67,762 tonnes annually.

In addition, the amount of organic pollutants produced daily from farms, where 6.8 million pigs are raised, equals that produced by 17 million people.

Leu said that of 30 seized hidden pipes discharging untreated wastewater, two-thirds are built by pig farm owners.

"If managers from the two industries don't take wastewater treatment seriously, water pollution in rivers will become a great calamity in Taiwan," Leu said at a press conference yesterday.

From January to last month, environmental officials carried out 263 inspections on tanneries nationwide, finding that 12 firms had secretly discharged dirty wastewater.

Officials said that the pollution content of the wastewater from the worst case was 127 times higher than EPA standards.

Among 4,838 inspections to pig farms, wastewater from 162 failed to meet standards set for effluents. The pollution content of the wastewater in the worst case was 218 times higher than standards.

Leu said that other sites would be inspected in the near future. He said the EPA replies on volunteers' alertness because most hidden pipes are built in remote areas.

According to environmental laws, water polluters will be fined NT$60,000 each day until they are in compliance.

The scenario of river pollution could be more serious because it's beyond the government's reach to regulate all factories and farms because some are not registered.

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