Penalties Intensified for Water Pollution Control Act Violations


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.
Excerpt from Environmental Policy Monthly, 22(2)

Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)
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