Massive Investment Program For Wastewater Treatment
Over the past 20 years, China has engaged in what is possibly the largest program to build wastewater treatment plants in history. Despite the substantial achievements of this program, many challenges remain.
Achievements Until the early 1980s, there was no single municipal wastewater treatment plant in China. Only then the country’s first municipal wastewater treatment plant was built in the city of Nanjing. Subsequently, China engaged in what possibly is the largest wastewater treatment investment program in history. It has been estimated that in 2006 there was sufficient capacity to treat 52% of municipal residential wastewater. According to the State Environmental Protection Agency the rate of urban wastewater treatment even reached 57% in the same year. In any case, the government's goal to achieve a level of 60% for treatment of municipal wastewater by 2010 will probably be reached even earlier. Between 2001 and 2004, the number of cities that charge wastewater tariffs has increased from 300 to 475 out of 661 cities.
Remaining challenges However, in the rush to construct planning mistakes were made. Demand was overestimated, the construction of sewerage lagged behind the construction of treatment plants, designs were sometimes inappropriate, there was no requirement for pre-treatment of industrial effluents thus affecting the effectiveness of treatment processes, and the sites chosen for the first priority investments within a river basin were not always those where the highest impact could have been achieved in terms of improving river water quality. As a result, many plants are underutilized or poorly functioning. According to the Ministry of Construction, more than 50 wastewater treatment plants in more than 30 cities operated at only 30 percent of their capacity or did not even come into operation. Consequently, the impact of the investment program on the water quality in rivers and coastal waters has been limited.
During the 1990s, municipal and industrial water use actually declined because of low increases of connection rates to utilities because of underestimation of the importance of small-scale water providers, increased tariffs, increased metering, industrial restructuring, measures to increase the efficiency of water use in industries, as well as due to water scarcity and drought. Many Chinese water and wastewater companies have overcapacities and are in financial difficulties because the revenues are insufficient to cover the servicing of the debt contracted to build the oversized infrastructure.
Read more about this topic: Water Supply And Sanitation In The People's Republic Of China, History and Current Developments
Famous quotes containing the words treatment, massive, investment and/or program:
“Jamess great gift, of course, was his ability to tell a plot in shimmering detail with such delicacy of treatment and such fine aloofnessthat is, reluctance to engage in any direct grappling with what, in the play or story, had actually taken placeMthat his listeners often did not, in the end, know what had, to put it in another way, gone on.”
—James Thurber (18941961)
“Those who have been immersed in the tragedy of massive death during wartime, and who have faced it squarely, never allowing their senses and feelings to become numbed and indifferent, have emerged from their experiences with growth and humanness greater than that achieved through almost any other means.”
—Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (b. 1926)
“There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.”
—Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (18351910)
“He believes without reservation that Kentucky is the garden spot of the world, and is ready to dispute with anyone who questions his claim. In his enthusiasm for his State he compares with the Methodist preacher whom Timothy Flint heard tell a congregation that Heaven is a Kentucky of a place.”
—For the State of Kentucky, U.S. public relief program (1935-1943)