LCQ14: Water quality of Victoria Harbour
Regarding improvement to the water quality of the Victoria Harbour, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the number of complaints received by the authorities in the past three years concerning the stenches emitted from the Victoria Harbour waters; the districts involved in such complaints; apart from the works to construct dry weather flow interceptors in Kowloon and Tsuen Wan and rehabilitate trunk sewers intended to be carried out, of the authorities' new measures to mitigate the impact of the stenches on the residents; and
(2) given that the authorities commenced a two-year consultancy study in early 2016 to ascertain the improvement measures required based on the specific causes of near shore pollution, of the details and progress of the study; when the authorities will publish the study report and whether they will conduct public consultation on the improvement measures?
(1) In the past three years, the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) received 51 complaint cases from members of the public about the odour nuisance of the Victoria Harbour waters, involving the districts of Wan Chai (one case), Yau Tsim Mong (29 cases), Kowloon City (seven cases) and Tsuen Wan (14 cases).
The Government has been taking actions and allocating resources to upgrade the sewage collection and treatment systems for improving the quality of coastal waters of the Victoria Harbour. With the phased implementation of the Harbour Area Treatment Scheme (HATS), the water quality of the Victoria Harbour has been significantly improved. With all the sewage in the Victoria Harbour catchment transported to the Stonecutters Island Sewage Treatment Works after the commissioning of HATS Stage 2A in December 2015, the water quality of Victoria Harbour has shown further improvement.
In the densely-populated coastal areas that have been developed for many years, the odour nuisance was caused by discharged wastewater that was not collected by the public sewers network, and wastewater and pollutants entered the Victoria Harbour through the storm drainage system. These residual discharges originated from various pollution sources, including misconnections of foul water pipes from buildings and public sewers to the storm drainage systems as well as road side pollutants entering into the storm drainage system. Apart from the proposed projects to construct dry weather flow interceptors and rehabilitate trunk sewers in West Kowloon and Tsuen Wan, the EPD has collaborated with other departments to implement the following measures to reduce near shore pollution:
(a) The EPD, the Buildings Department (BD) and the Drainage Services Department (DSD) jointly follow up and rectify the foul water pipe misconnection cases;
(b) The DSD carries out inspections, repair and clearing of sediments for the public sewers and storm drainage systems on a regular basis;
(c) The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) and the Highways Department provide routine rubbish clean-up services in public places and streets, as well as regular clearing of sediment in gully traps to reduce the amount of pollutants discharged into the storm drainage system and the subsequent near shore water quality and odour problems; and
(d) The Marine Department cleans up floating refuse and provides free refuse collection service for vessels on a daily basis to prevent potential odour generated by the marine refuse.
Regarding the control of wastewater discharge, the EPD prohibits the illegal discharge of sewage or pollutants under the Water Pollution Control Ordinance (Cap 358). The BD regulates the misconnections of foul water pipes in buildings under the Buildings Ordinance (Cap 123). The FEHD regulates the illegal discharge of wastewater to reduce pollutants from entering into the storm drainage system.
(2) To further enhancing the quality of coastal waters of Victoria Harbour, the EPD has commissioned a consultancy study in January 2016 to identify the specific causes of near shore pollution through evidence-based reviews and various analyses. The study will then identify targeted solutions through prevention at source and pollution control measures. The research team is now conducting a survey on near shore odour, water quality and source of pollution in relevant coastal districts. The survey is anticipated to complete by the end of 2017 with a view to finalise the preliminary research report by 2018. The EPD will report the study findings to the Legislative Council and consult the relevant District Councils and stakeholders on the improvement measures at an appropriate juncture. During the course of the study, relevant department will, subject to the availability of practical solution and resource, seek to address those identified pollution problems as quickly as possible without having to wait until the completion of the study.
Ends/Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Issued at HKT 15:45
Issued at HKT 15:45