New Water Treatment Plant to Benefit Taiwan’s Black-Faced Spoonbills

tainan water treatment
A water treatment facility opened on Sept. 27 in Tainan. It is expected to improve water quality in wetland habitats for black-faced spoonbills. Photo courtesy Tainan City Government

Taiwan has taken the initiative to boost wildlife conservation efforts in recent years, and, in particular, the endangered black-faced spoonbill population has grown, though it suffered a slight setback last year. While the country can only ensure the birds’ safety during their winter migration, the government has made some progress.

The Tainan City Government officially opened a new water treatment facility in Qigu District on Friday to ensure cleaner water is released into wetland areas that host black-faced spoonbills during the winter months. The NT$146 million (US$4.7 million) facility is north of the popular tourist destination Taijiang National Park, which is home to a variety of plant and animal species.

Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) and Yeh Chun-hung (葉俊宏), chief of the EPA’s Department of Water Quality, said that the new water treatment plant will improve drainage and help protect seven downstream lagoons.

The EPA subsidized the environmental project, which utilizes 0.4 hectares of land donated by hot melt adhesives manufacturer Nanpao (南寶樹脂公司), with NT$87 million. During the opening ceremony, Mayor Huang thanked the EPA for the subsidy and Nanpao for the land donation.

The facility has the capacity to treat between 8,000 and 12,000 tons of water per day and can treat about 70% of upstream water, Liberty Times reported. Upstream water sources have been affected by livestock waste in recent years, leading to the need for the treatment facility. The EPA and Council of Agriculture plan to work with local farmers to reduce livestock wastewater pollution in the area. The treatment facility is also expected to eliminate foul odors that have plagued the waterways.

black faced spoonbill
Photo by Alnus via Wikimedia Commons

Last year, the black-faced spoonbill population during the winter in Taiwan declined by more than 400 birds to 2,195. In 1990, there were fewer than 300 worldwide, but the population is now estimated at 4,463. The birds are mostly found in the wetlands of Tainan, Kaohsiung and Chiayi.

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