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News Center

Action Plan for Water Pollution Prevention and Control

  Following the introduction of the air pollution prevention and control plan in September last year, the Ministry of Environmental Protection will launch a water pollution prevention and control action plan (Clean Water Action Plan) in the first half of this year. On February 11, at a newly launched national conference, Vice Minister of Environmental Protection Qu Qing disclosed that the plan will be revised and submitted to the State Council. According to the above sources, in addition to defining pollutant emission reduction targets and specific tasks in each subarea, the biggest highlight of the plan is to make clear that sludge treatment will be one of the key tasks of water pollution prevention and control. In the future, we will accelerate the synchronous construction of sludge treatment facilities in national sewage treatment plants to bridge the current backward situation of sludge treatment rate of less than 10% in China.

  Market analysts believe that sludge treatment, as a branch of environmental protection industry, has been mentioned since the 12th Five-Year Plan, but it is not as strong as desulfurization and denitrification, waste incineration and other fields. With the release of Clean Water Action Plan, sludge treatment is expected to become a new theme of environmental investment. According to estimates, in the next five years, the basic investment demand of sludge treatment facility construction (including new construction and renovation of existing facilities) will reach 60 billion yuan. In addition, the investment demand of later period operation will exceed 10 billion yuan per year, and the total investment scale of sludge treatment prying will exceed 100 billion yuan.

  "Heavy water but light mud" is expected to improve

  Industry insiders pointed out that China's sewage treatment industry has long been "heavy water but light mud", sludge treatment capacity, technology and investment lagged behind the water treatment industry seriously. At present, most of the sludge in our country can not be effectively treated and disposed of, and the harm of secondary pollution to the environment is shocking.

  Chen Tongbin, a researcher at the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Resources of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told China Securities News that by 2015, China will produce more than 30 million tons of sludge annually, making it the largest sludge producer in the world. However, for a long time, only about 10% of sludge has been effectively treated in accordance with the principle of "reduction, harmlessness and resource utilization" nationwide, which still lags far behind the treatment level of more than 50% in developed countries such as Europe and the United States. "Without effective treatment and disposal, it will cause great harm and burden to water, soil and atmosphere."

  In fact, as early as November 2010, the Ministry of Environmental Protection ordered "sewage treatment plants to build and operate sludge treatment facilities within two years". However, according to the recent research report issued by China Water Network, in 2013 alone, nearly 500 sewage treatment projects were increased, while less than 50 sludge treatment and disposal projects were added. The proportion of sludge treatment facilities to sewage treatment facilities is seriously imbalanced, and the sludge treatment capacity gap is huge.

  Over the past two years, the incidents of secondary pollution caused by improper sludge disposal have gradually come into the public's view, which has also aroused the attention of policy makers to the current situation of "heavy water but light sludge". The Opinions on Strengthening Urban Infrastructure Construction issued in the second half of last year clearly pointed out that by 2015, according to the requirements of "harmlessness and resource utilization", the construction of sludge treatment and disposal facilities should be strengthened, and the harmless disposal rate of municipal sludge reached about 70%. In order to implement the Opinions, the Ministry of Housing and Construction and the Ministry of Environmental Protection issued a document requesting that "when sewage treatment plants are newly built, rebuilt and expanded, sludge treatment facilities should be planned, constructed and put into operation at the same time as sewage treatment facilities. Existing sewage treatment plants that do not have sludge treatment capacity should be built and operated within two years from the date of issuance of the notice".

  According to China Securities News, sludge treatment will once again become one of the policy highlights in the upcoming clean water action plan. It is proposed that in the next five years, while ensuring the simultaneous construction of sludge treatment facilities in the new sewage treatment plant, the installation and transformation of sludge treatment facilities in the operation of the sewage treatment plant will be steadily promoted. At the same time, the pilot project of increasing sludge treatment fee in water price reform will be gradually expanded nationwide in the future.

  Chen Tongbin pointed out that "water treatment without mud treatment is equal to water treatment without mud treatment". It is impossible to fundamentally improve the water environment if the sludge problem is not solved properly. This has also been fully recognized by policy makers.