EPA minister seeks to boost wastewater fines to NT$5 mil.
By Lauly Li, The China Post
December 24, 2013, 12:14 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Environmental Protection Administration Minister Stephen Shen (沈世宏) said yesterday that he supports a legislative proposal to raise fines for illegal wastewater disposal to a maximum of NT$5 million.
Shen further noted that he agrees with the legislators in their support to amend the current Water Pollution Control Measures and Test Reporting Management Regulations, and to include new regulations for laying unauthorized pipes for wastewater into the act.
Yesterday the Legislative Yuan's Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee invited Shen to deliver a report regarding the recent controversial wastewater disposal case that involves Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc. (ASE, 日月光).
The ASE disposed of wastewater containing strong acids and heavy metals from its K7 facility in Kaohsiung City, with the amount of acids and heavy metals exceeding the regulated amount.
The wastewater dumped by the firm caused environmental damages. However, ASE was only fined NT$600,000 by the Kaohsiung Department of Environmental Protection — the maximum fine under current water pollution regulations. In light of this, both ruling and opposition lawmakers have proposed to raise the fine in order to prevent companies from dumping unregulated wastewater again.
Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Wang Yu-min (王育敏) said that the Water Pollution Control Measures and Test Reporting Management Regulations should specifically state that setting up unauthorized pipes, or disposing wastewater without a filter, are “malicious behaviors”, and the penalty for violations should carry a maximum fine of NT$5 million.
Wang said she also proposes to raise the fine from NT$300,000 to NT$1 million should any companies attempt to interfere, avoid or reject government inspection.
Aside from echoing Wang's proposal, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said it will also propose an amendment to the act, noting that it will raise the punishment terms and increase regulations to prevent offenses against public safety. The EPA said it hopes the amendment can be passed during this legislative session.