To showcase new technologies and research results in soil and groundwater remediation, on 29 July the EPA held the 2020 Industry-Academia Collaborative Exhibition on Soil and Groundwater Remediation Technologies and Applications. During the event, scholars and experts in Taiwan introduced their latest research on soil and groundwater remediation and also shared their experience in industry-academia collaboration. The exhibition featured various technologies with a wide array of potential applications and attracted more than 200 attendees, including business leaders, experts in the field and students of the subject.
In his opening speech, EPA Minister Tzi-Chin Chang mentioned that soil and groundwater remediation gained attention late compared to other environmental issues such as air pollution, water pollution and waste management. Not until the cadmium-contaminated rice incident in 1987 and the subsequent RCA pollution incident did Taiwan start to make legislative changes. With the Soil and Groundwater Pollution Remediation Act promulgated in 2000, the EPA had the regulatory tool and mechanism to set pollution standards, and created the Soil and Groundwater Pollution Remediation Fund to carry out soil and groundwater pollution prevention and remediation work. After twenty years of hard work, it is now time to look back and reflect on achievements.
Minister Chang stated that back then the EPA implemented extensive surveys on farmland all over Taiwan and started to remediate contaminated areas. During these years, the EPA poured in countless effort which led to both successes and failures. The EPA’s current goals are to complete the remediation work on all polluted farmland by the end of next year and focus on effective monitoring to prevent farmland pollution in the future.
Minister Chang disclosed that the EPA has invested NT$290 million in promoting domestic academic research and development, and has completed 262 research and development projects on pollution remediation and investigation technologies, which have resulted in 23 patents and 5 proposals for technology transfer. These technological research achievements were estimated to have created NT$203 million in annual profits and 230 to 350 jobs in total.
The exhibition offered an interactive platform for attendees to try out products or technologies presented in the six participating projects under three categories, which have all been tested successfully in pilot cases. Projects in the investigation tool category include the “nemesis of illegal discharge − time-lapse resin capsule” developed by National Taiwan University that promises to leave polluters nowhere to hide, and the “three-dimensional optical-fiber scanner” created by National Chiao Tung University that can scan and give a whole picture of the hydrological features of a site.
As for projects in the remediation solution category, National Sun Yat-sen University presented the “comprehensive pollution remediation agent”, an environmentally friendly and energy saving approach to soil remediation, while National Central University brought in the “local high-efficiency microbial inoculant”, an effective solution to treat chlorine-contaminated soil. Under the remediation device category, there were the “green electrolytic remediation device” developed by Kun Shan University and the “all-in-one solution and eco-friendly porous filtering material” developed by National Chung Hsing University. The “green electrolytic remediation device” would be the foremost choice for those looking for an energy-saving groundwater remediation tool that delivers long-lasting results. The “all-in-one solution and eco-friendly porous filtering material” offers speedy and effective treatment for chlorine contaminated soil that can be later transformed into porous material.
Another highlight of the exhibition was the signing of a letter of intent and the sharing of the collaboration experiences by the four separate business-academia partnerships sponsored by the EPA. Nineteen top domestic experts in the field of soil and groundwater were also invited to present potential technologies, such as fast screening for arsenic in groundwater, biochar adsorption technologies, mechanical separation of oil-contaminated soil, and environmental forensic technologies. During the in-depth exchanges, participants were inspired to think beyond their fields to promote the application of the technologies.
The EPA expressed that it would continue to pay attention to the effectiveness of onsite application of the technologies, closely observe the development of soil and groundwater technologies in Taiwan, and help bring industry and academia together. In this way, the creative and collaborative energy of “Team Taiwan” can be fully realized to restore the clean soil and water of the nation.
Excerpt from Environmental Policy Monthly, 23 (8)
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)