Taipei Sewer Engineering Department said that the sewage treatment plant in New Taipei’s Bali District, which serves 4.6 million people in northern Taiwan and is operated by contractor Huimin Environmental Tech Corp. (惠民實業公司), has been allegedly dumping untreated sewage directly into the ocean, Next Magazine reported. The plant is the largest in Asia.
Authorities believe that in order to improve profits Huimin has not been treating all the sewage passing through the plant before discharging it into the ocean.
Chen Shih-hao (陳世浩), head the Hydraulic Engineering Office, said this afternoon that between Feb. 6 and March 9 the sewage contractor had cut corners to save money and polluted the water just offshore. In all, the department believes more than 4,000 tons of sewage were dumped into the water, though there is no official measurement.
Chen added that while the operations were illegal, there is little threat to the local marine ecosystem. The department has assigned a deputy director to monitor the Bali sewage plant to ensure all environmental regulations are followed in the future.
Huimin Environmental Tech could be fined NT$250,000 for its failure to properly treat the sewage, while project management company Yu Tong Consultants (宇堂顧問公司) may be on the hook for an additional NT$50,000.
An employee told Next Magazine that the contractor had been dumping the raw sewage into the ocean for a while and that it only occasionally treated the sewage to minimum requirements in order to maintain a profit on its government contract.