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Business Busted for Illegal Rerouting and Discharge of Wastewater to Kaohsiung Port

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After lengthy monitoring, the Southern Center of Environmental Management of the MOENV’s Environmental Management Administration (EMA), recently successfully identified a metal finishing business in Siaogang District, Kaohsiung City that had not properly treated its wastewater. The untreated wastewater was discharged by a motor pump into a drainage ditch outside the factory, polluting the water in Port of Kaohsiung. Inspection personnel took samples from inside the drainage manhole that was only big enough for one person to enter and confirmed the illegal action. The business was immediately ordered to cut off the illegal pipeline and cease the discharge of wastewater. It will be prosecuted and penalized according to law.

During a routine petrol around the seafront industrial zones in Kaohsiung City, the Southern Center of Environmental Management suspected a metal finishing factory in Siaogang District of discharging wastewater through an unauthorized outlet. The wastewater was found to contain elevated levels of heavy metals. A special task force was set up to monitor the situation. During a period of heavy rainfall last month, the factory was observed discharging wastewater from the unauthorized outlet when the rain subsided. Immediate sampling and testing were conducted, revealing the concentration of suspended solids at 100 mg/L, exceeding the standard limit of 30 mg/L by 3.3 times. Further investigation inside the facility found that the business was allowing generated wastewater containing heavy metals to flow into an adjustment tank. The wastewater was then pumped out by a motor and, with manual valve controls, directed into a concealed ground opening in a corner of the factory and discharged into the drainage ditch before entering Port of Kaohsiung, causing marine pollution. The wastewater exceeded the Effluent Standards (放流水標準) and the action constituted illegal rerouting, violating Article 7 Paragraph 1, and Article 18-1 Paragraph 1 of the Water Pollution Control Act (水污染防治法). The inspection personnel will report the behavior for future penalty accordingly.

To confirm that the external wastewater indeed came from said business, inspectors traced the flow of the wastewater using dye and entered the narrow drainage manhole to collect evidence. It was verified that the colored wastewater did enter the drainage system, and there were no other sources of wastewater, confirming the business' violation. Despite the business owner’s attempt to put the blame on foreign employees, extensive evidence collected over time confirmed that this was not the business’ first offense. To prevent the continuous discharge of untreated wastewater, the business was immediately ordered to cut off the unauthorized pipeline onsite to prevent further pollution.

The EMA urges all enterprises to comply with relevant regulations when treating and discharging wastewater. While continuing to investigate businesses that pollute rivers, environmental authorities will intensify supervision and control in industrial zones lacking centralized wastewater disposal facilities. Any unscrupulous businesses found to have discharged wastewater via unapproved outlets will face strict punishment based on relevant regulations in order to uphold environmental quality.

Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, November 2023
Source: 
Ministry of Environment
Updated: 
2023-12-07
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