Thu, Apr 13, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Legislator questions Bali sewage plant statistics

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Man-li, center, yesterday speaks at a news conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, urging the government to investigate whether the Bali Wastewater Treatment Plant in New Taipei City had been fudging its numbers.

Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Man-li (陳曼麗) yesterday questioned whether data on the Bali Sewage Treatment Plant had been faked, as its reported sewage sludge intake has fallen while treated sewage volume has increased over the past five years.

The Chinese-language Next Magazine last week reported that the facility, which is responsible for treating the domestic sewage of about 6.4 million people living in Keelung, Taipei and New Taipei City, had over several years allegedly discharged untreated wastewater directly into the ocean.

The New Taipei City Environmental Protection Department on Thursday last week announced that it would issue two fines of NT$6 million (US$196,361) each to the Taipei Sewerage Systems Office, which is to then fine the plant’s operator, Huimin Environmental Tech.

“The more sewage there is or the higher its concentration, the more sewage sludge you get, so why are we seeing less sewage sludge?” Chen asked.

Citing data over the past five years, she said that the estimated total volume of sewage sludge — based on treated sewage volume — in 2012 should have been about 34,332 tonnes, but Huimin reported only 9,147 tonnes.

Last year, the estimated volume was 56,536 tonnes, but the firm reported only 5,440 tonnes, she said.

Other questionable data included the total volume of treated sewage being nearly the same as the volume of discharged water and the quality of discharged water meeting wastewater discharge standards over five years, she said.

“Discharged water volume should be about the total treated sewage volume minus total sewage sludge volume,” Chen said, adding that she suspects the statistics of the contractor or the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) were manipulated.

As the plant’s discharging of untreated wastewater into the ocean has been exposed, it is hard to believe that the facility did not fail any of the EPA inspections over the past five years, she said, urging the government to install automatic monitoring devices at the plant to prevent pollution and to investigate the veracity of the data.

EPA Department of Water Quality Protection official Wei Wen-yi (魏文宜) said the agency would amend related regulations to allow for the installation of automatic monitoring devices and would continue to monitor water quality daily in the interim.

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