• 2019環境季
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Recent Issues By Topics
Water Second Preannouncement of Revisions to the Effluent Standards Strengthens Controls on Dioxin Emissions2019-04-08

The EPA preannounced revisions to the Effluent Standards Article 2 and Article 2.1 for the second time on 4 January 2019. In order to strengthen controls on dioxin emissions, the EPA made revisions to the required conditions for enterprises with incinerating facilities, in addition to the revised content in the first preannouncement.

Enterprises using incinerators and those that reduce air pollution through wet or semi-dry scrubbing systems, regardless of whether scrubbing produces wastewater, still risk producing effluent water containing dioxins. As such, the EPA revised the applicable conditions for the Effluent Standards, thus emphasizing the necessity for controlling dioxin emissions found in effluent water.

The EPA emphasized that dioxins are harmful chemical substances of high public concern, also listed by the Stockholm Convention as a persistent organic pollutant (POP). In order to safeguard the environment and respond to public demands, the EPA urges enterprises to operate wastewater treatment facilities properly and improve the quality of Taiwan’s waterbodies. This effort is accomplished by managing control items as well as limits on effluent water applicable to enterprises at risk of polluting. The EPA appeals to enterprises to ensure their compliance with the laws and regulations. Violators in major incidents of waterbody and soil pollution will be punished based on the Water Pollution Control Act, which will deter others from testing the law. 
 

Water Penalties Intensified for Water Pollution Control Act Violations2019-04-03

On 16 January 2019, the EPA announced revisions to the Regulations of Penalties and Amount of Fines for Violations of the Water Pollution Control Act. The revisions deal with determination methods for penalty points, taking into account the number of Water Pollution Control Act regulations an action violates, as well as clarifying severe forms of violations, violation scales and effects, acts of illegal dilution, and penalty intensification and reduction.

The EPA noted that the revisions and reevaluations were done in response to the 13 June 2018 revision of the Water Pollution Control Act. The goal was to remove competent authorities’ doubts when they determine violations and issue penalties based on the Act, and also to align with major bylaw amendments of recent years.

Amendments specify provisions of violations and the points of evaluation. Moreover, there have been many incidents of fuels leaked into water bodies, yet the scales of these incidents were not clearly determined, leading to severe violations that received light penalties. Currently fines are too light for severe violations committed by public sewage system operators and there are also targets not covered by the Water Pollution Control Act. Illegal activities are difficult to deter, so there was a need to strengthen and add provisions on violations and calculating basis. The revisions for penalizing principles were an opportunity for reevaluation to strengthen execution powers and harshly punish violations of the Act to safeguard the quality of rivers of surface water bodies. 

Major focuses of the revisions are as follows:
1.    Severe violations under the Water Pollution Control Act are clearly specified and are punishable by the heaviest fines according to the regulations.

2.    Provisions of violations and evaluation points have been added and revised in response to the amendments of the Water Pollution Control Act and relevant bylaws.

3.    Article 28 Paragraph 1 of the Water Pollution Control Act is revised. Scales of violations are to be determined in the same way to determine violations involving leaked fuels, wastewater, raw ingredients, chemical agents, or other pollutants.

4.    Revisions made regarding scales of construction sites as well as to provisions and evaluation points for not complying with regulations concerning wastewater runoff controls.


5. Revisions are made regarding collection targets for water pollution control fees for enterprises and s are ewage systems, as well as determination of accumulated days of overdue fees. Also, determination of fines for household water pollution prevention fees have been deleted.

6. Amendments were made to the determination of accumulated days for those who are obligated to declare but fail to do so, as well as for those who have received notification of deadlines to make declarations but fail to do so on time.

7. Revisions were made to the penalty units for public sewage systems and enterprises not under the control of the Water Pollution Control Act.
 

Water Stricter Controls for Groundwater Injection List 61 Harmful Substances as Undetectable2019-04-01

On 22 December 2018, the EPA announced revisions to the Water Quality Standards for Groundwater Body Injection and Types and Limits of Harmful Substances, which was renamed to the Types and Limits of Harmful Substances Prohibited from Being Injected into Groundwater. The revisions made were largely in response to the Water Pollution Control Act’s full ban on wastewater (sludge) being injected into groundwater. Furthermore, the EPA announced 61 harmful substances to be restricted because they are “undetectable” through environmental assessments.

The EPA noted that amendments to water pollution regulations placed prohibitions on any wastewater from being discharged into groundwater, and deleting the regulations that wastewater is permitted being discharged into groundwater according to environmental risk assessment results regulated standards. These changes are done through revisions to the Water Pollution Control Act that fully prohibit the injection of wastewater (sludge) into groundwater. Article 36 Paragraph 2 has been added to increase the severity of punishments for enterprises that inject wastewater containing harmful substances into groundwater. Subsequently, the types of harmful substances and their respective limitations for groundwater injection were also changed to conform with the amendments.
The amendments primarily focus on types and limits of harmful substances injected into groundwater as listed in the table of announced Item 1 as well as Item 2. A total of 61 harmful substances cannot be detected.
The EPA emphasized that the Water Pollution Control Act already prohibits wastewater (sludge) from being injected into groundwater, for which Article 32 Paragraph 1 stipulates that violators will be fined between NT$60,000- NT$6,000,000 . As for those who inject harmful substances into groundwater, Article 36 Paragraph 2 states that they can be penalized with one to seven years of imprisonment, detention and/or a fine between NT$200,000 and NT$20 million.