Feitsui Reservoir is the source of drinking water for the six million residents in the Greater Taipei Area. To protect the water quality and ensure drinking water safety, the Taipei Water Management Office was established under the Water Resources Agency of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Much to the EPA’s surprise, barrels of waste liquid were found in the Feitsui Reservoir catchment area. Fortunately, the EPA reacted in a timely manner and apprehended the offenders after a joint investigation with police and the prosecutor’s office.
In September 2019, the EPA’s Northern Branch of the Bureau of Environmental Inspection received a report from the Taipei Water Management Office regarding an illegal dumping of roughly 100 barrels of waste liquid in the Feitsui Reservoir catchment area. A team was sent to the disposal site and found 99 20-liter white plastic barrels of liquid waste, five 125-liter blue plastic barrels of waste ink, and 20 large plastic bags of waste fabric. The inspection team immediately determined it as a severe dumping case and coordinated with the New Taipei City Government to transport the barrels to the Taipei Water Management Office. Subsequently, the EPA, the Taipei District Prosecutor's Office, and the Seventh Special Police Corps conducted a joint investigation to crack down on the offenders.
The test result showed that a portion of the waste liquid contained copper that was nearly three times higher than the hazardous waste leaching standard. Copper poisoning can cause liver cirrhosis and kidney failure, and impair the digestive and nervous systems. Copper can also accumulate in animals and plants, causing green oysters and damaging the food chain and the environment. The dumping location was only three meters from the nearest river. Luckily, none of the liquid leaked out, or it could have seriously polluted the drinking water, endangering six million people in the Greater Taipei Area.
To find those responsible for the illegal dumping, the EPA’s Northern Branch of the Bureau of Environmental Inspection conducted sample tests on the liquid and determined that it was waste that contained heavy metals. By using high-tech equipment to restore the deliberately defaced labels on the barrels, the investigators were able to narrow down the source to printing plants in the Zhonghe, Yonghe and Xindian Districts. After six months of tracing, the EPA found roughly ten suspects who were paying a company in Tainan, which did not possess a waste clearance and disposal permit, to dispose of their waste. The company owner surnamed Lin along with an accomplice surnamed Luo dumped the waste liquid and fabrics in the nearby Feitsui Reservoir catchment area to save on the treatment costs. Other suspects involved in the case have been arrested and sent to the Taipei District Prosecutor's Office for further investigation. The offenders in this case can be sentenced to one to five years in prison and any illegal gains will also be confiscated.
Excerpt from Environmental Policy Monthly, 23 (4)
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)