Wed, Sep 09, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Taipei to monitor septic tanks amid dengue concerns

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

In a bid to improve water quality and eliminate dengue fever breeding sites, the Taipei City Government yesterday announced that it would start monitoring the performance of septic tanks across the city.

Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Liou Ming-lone (劉銘龍) said the agency would require 962 buildings more than five stories high and overseen by a management committee to clean their septic tanks once a year starting next year.

Liou said the policy complements the city’s river restoration efforts to improve the water quality along the Tamsui (淡水河), Sindian (新店溪) and Keelung (基隆河) rivers.

He said that septic tanks that are cleaned regularly have a longer service life and on average show 51 percent functionality, while those that are not cleaned become virtually dysfunctional, showing only 3 percent functionality.

He said that with the percentage of households and businesses in Taipei connected to the public sewage system exceeding 74 percent, the number of buildings whose septic tanks are monitored by the city government has declined from 1,818 in 2002 to 511.

According to the new regulations, management committees are to submit invoices documenting that work to maintain the tanks has been conducted, while residents who do not comply could be fined between NT$1,200 and NT$6,000 under the Waste Disposal Act (廢棄物清理法), he said.

Septic tanks are connected to rainwater drainage pipes beside roadways and can become breeding sites for dengue fever-transmitting mosquitoes if their outflows are not properly treated, Liou said.

However, as the rule only targets registered buildings with management committees, it means that septic tanks at about 30,000 buildings, or 26 percent, that do not meet the requirements would not be listed as controled by the city government.

Depoartment head Tang Chen-hsiung (唐振雄) said the agency would dispatch inspectors to buildings to check the state of their septic tanks and ask residents to make improvements if necessary.

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