The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday said it has funded the establishment of 56 artificial wetlands to assist in wastewater treatment since 2003, nine of which have since been certified as nationally protected wetlands.
Hsu Yung-hsing (許永興), the director of the EPA’s Department of Water Quality, said the agency’s management of the wetlands has boosted water purification efforts and aided in the restoration of habitats for plants and animals, while the wetlands have also served as recreational spots for the public.
Out of the 82 wetlands that were deemed to be of national importance by the Executive Yuan in 2010, nine are man-made wetlands funded by the agency, EPA official Chiou Ren-jie (邱仁杰) said.
The nine are: the Daniaopi (打鳥埤) Manmade Wetland, the Sinhai (新海) Manmade Wetland, the Lujiao River (鹿角溪) Manmade Wetland, the Fujhou (浮洲) Manmade Wetland, the Chenglin (城林) Manmade Wetland — now merged with the Tamsui River Wetlands — the Ecological Park of Toucian River (頭前溪生態公園), the Dashu Old Railway Bridge (大樹舊鐵橋) Wetland Park, the Linluo (麟洛) Manmade Wetland and the Guanshan (關山) Manmade Wetland.
Of the approximately 2.3 million tonnes of wastewater discharged into the Tamsui River basin area, about 1 million tonnes are gathered in the public sewage system, about 1.1 million tonnes are treated at the Bali Sewage Treatment Plant (八里污水處理場) and an estimated 230,000 tonnes are treated at the man-made wetlands, Chiou said.
The rate of biochemical oxygen demand reduction (a gauge used to determine the effectiveness of wastewater treatment) of the man-made wetlands ranges from 47 percent to 78 percent, Chiou said, adding that sewage treatment plants have a higher reduction rate of more than 90 percent.
Hsu said that although the man-made wetlands can serve as additional wastewater treatment facilities, they cannot completely the more efficient replace sewage treatment plants.
The man-made wetlands’ other functions of restoring habitats and increasing biodiversity are very important in treating nonpoint source pollution, such as dust from heavy traffic, wind-borne debris and polluted runoff that drains into the river after heavy rainfall, he added.
This year, about NT$10 million (US$345,000) has been allocated to the EPA for the management and monitoring of the wetlands, Hsu said.