Effluent standards for industrial parks will be expanded to include more items and tighten restrictions, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said on Thursday.
“Because of an increase in the number and type of factories in the parks, the Environmental Protection Administration feels it needs to amend the current effluent standards,” Department of Water Quality Protection Director General Chen Hsien-heng (陳咸亨) said.
Effluent standards regulate the quality of wastewater that is discharged into natural bodies of water, such as streams, rivers, lakes or oceans. To meet those standards, wastewater needs to be treated before it can be released into the environment.
Since the establishment of the Effluent Standard (放流水標準) in 1987, the regulations have been amended five times, Chen said, adding that the latest revision would take place in two stages.
“The first will expand the list of regulated items to include maximum biochemical oxygen demand [BOD] in the petrochemical industry and also regulate BOD and chemical oxygen demand [COD] in the sewage system in industrial parks,” Chen said.
“The regulation will take effect a year from now,” he said.
BOD is a common index used to measure organic pollutant levels in wastewater and higher numbers indicate more severe pollution.
Although organic pollutants in wastewater can be degraded by microorganisms, to carry out this task the microorganisms need oxygen and if wastewater does not contain enough oxygen, it will likely stay polluted.
Chen said the second stage of the revision will tighten regulations on levels of pollution in industrial effluence in sewage systems in industrial parks that emit more than 5,000m³ of water a day.
This revision will take effect in 2014.
“With the new regulations we expect a 20 percent decrease in pollution from industrial zones nationwide,” Chen said.
“We also hope that businesses will be encouraged to invest in wastewater treatment facilities to comply with the new restrictions,” he said.