Amid efforts to improve the water quality of rivers affected by industrial wastewater discharges along Taoyuan County’s seashore, an inspection project initiated by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) and the local environmental protection bureau has discovered the illegal discharge rate may have reached 33.5 percent.
Bureau of Environmental Inspection North Branch Director Hsiao Chin-lang (蕭清郎) said that since the project was initiated in April last year, the bureau had included 326 companies along six rivers among its key inspections, and 481 inspections of the companies had been conducted.
Of the inspections, 161 found violations, or 33.5 percent, Hsaio said, adding that seven companies have been ordered to suspend operations because of repeated violations, including a listed pharmaceutical factory that has been reported five times.
Taoyuan County Environmental Inspection section leader Lin Li-chang (林立昌) said that the company was discharging yellow wastewater into the Nankan River (南崁溪) at midnight, and the water was found to have a pH level of 11.6.
He said that while many companies illegally discharged wastewater through pipelines hidden underground, several of the violations were done through storing the wastewater in a tank and discharging it overnight, on rainy days or on holidays.
Hsiao said the EPA had also marked some companies for more in-depth inspections that would examine their records over the past five years, and the companies may be fined for illegal profits.
Lin said the companies that have been suspended are prohibited from discharging any wastewater during this period, until they gain approval from the inspection team 10 consecutive times, and having specialized water treatment companies purify their wastewater during this period could cost five times as much, which is also a punishment for these polluting companies.
Inspections will be expanded to include the Shulin River (樹林溪) and the Fulin River (富林溪).