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Three-fourths of Taipei’s sewage remains untreated


MAY29 – JUNE 15, 1996

Three-fourths of Taipei’s sewage remains untreated

By Ashali Varma

TAIPEI –When Taipei was built by the Japanese, it was a city planned to accommodate 300,000 people.  Half a century later, Taipei is a gleaming metropolis of about 6 million people, with super highways, towering high rises and high tech industries.  But visitors are  warned not to drink the water from taps and the rivers that flow peacefully by are polluted with sewage and industrial waste.

Director Lee Horng-Ji of the Bureau of Public Works in the Taipei City Government said, “Water pollution is quite serious in Taipei. Even though we have enough drinking water which is supplied by a reservoir upstream, the pipes that bring the water to the city are in some places over 50 years old.”

Taipei city is in the process of laying new pipes, but with underground construction at its peak, with new sewer lines and an underground railway, it will be some time before the citizens of Taipei can drink tap water.

In addition, only about 25 percent of the households have direct sewer connection. By the year 1998, the plans call for 40 percent direct sewer connection in Taipei City. Currently, interceptors are used to collect waste water and these are connected to the sewers.

“Today, we have three sewage treatment plants with a total capacity of 1.6 million cubic meters per day which can service a population of 3.6 million people,” Lee said.

After treatment the water is given to the city for parks and horticulture.

Regarding the pollution of the Keelung and Tamsui rivers, Lee said that with more sewage treatment plants being built, the added capacity will greatly reduce the fall out of untreated sewage into the rivers.

“We are also constructing a sewage treatment plant with a capacity of 1.3 million cubic meters a day that is located in Pali at the southern mouth of the Tamsui river. This will be completed in August 1996,” Lee said.

Built at the cost of NT$29 billion (US$1.l6 billion), the Pa-li Sewage Treatment Plant will treat sewage from the Great Taipei Area, which includes both Taipei City and Taiwan province.

“The treated sewage form this plant will be drained out to the Taiwan Straits by way of pipes,” Lee said.  Lee is confident that in the near future these measure will pay off and Taipei City will have cleaner water and a very modern sewage treatment system.