China China’s Fujian Province issued new regulations for water pollution control

Pollutant discharge limits, entities’ responsibilities addressed

China’s Fujian Province on July 29 issued the Regulations of Fujian Province on Water Pollution Control (福建省水污染防治条例; the “Regulations”). The Regulations will come into effect on November 1, replacing the Regulations of Fujian Province on River Basin Water Environment Protection (福建省流域水环境保护条例), which has been in place since 2012.

The latest Regulations have a wider scope and more specific provisions on water pollution control, total pollutant discharge limits, cooperation between regions, drinking water source protection, pollution source control, etc. The Regulations consist of seven chapters — General Provisions, Supervision of Water Pollution Control, Water Pollution Control Measures, Drinking Water Source Protection, Prevention and Response to Water Pollution Incidents, Legal Responsibilities and Supplementary Provisions — which contain 70 articles. Here is an overview of the Regulations.

Total amount limits for a wider range of pollutants

Total amount limits may now be set on pollutants that are not covered by national rules, based on the water pollution status of each district and the water pollution control implementation rules. The Regulations also state that the equal-capacity replacement (等量置换) and reduced-capacity replacement (减量置换) are implemented for discharge amounts of main water pollutants in key industries designated by the state and Fujian Province as well as in new, renewed and expanded projects in key river basin areas and drinking water source areas.

Broader responsibility of pollutant dischargers

  • Pollutant dischargers must apply for a pollutant discharge permit and discharge pollutants in accordance with their permit.
  • Key pollutant dischargers must install and operate water pollutant discharge automated monitoring equipment in accordance with the relevant requirements.
  • Effluents from the chemical, electroplating, leather and other industries must be pretreated in accordance with the requirement of separate discharge based on water quality, and must reach the required standard for the central sewage treatment plant before discharge.
  • Entities handling heavy metals must classify their effluents according to types and amounts of heavy metals in them, and reduce and recycle sludge containing heavy metals as well as making it harmless.
  • Certain types of entities in the chemical, electroplating and other industries must collect the first flush of rainwater and keep it from being discharged directly into the environment.
  • Entities where water pollution incidents could take place must evaluate the risk of unexpected water environment pollution incidents in accordance with the relevant rules.
  • Entities producing or storing hazardous chemicals must build emergency response facilities for water pollution incidents, such as an emergency response pool. Violators of this provision will be ordered to correct the issue within a designated period by the department or organization for ecology and environment. In addition, they will be required to pay 100,000–500,000 yuan (approximately $15,000–$77,000) as a penalty.
  • Entities handling materials that have a greater impact on the water environment and a higher risk of polluting it, including heavy metals, petroleum, chemicals and hazardous chemicals, are encouraged to have environmental pollution responsibility insurance.

The Regulations also emphasize the responsibility of local governments at each level for water environment management and supervision, and require that when local governments and other responsible bodies assess entities, they must include in their assessments what water environment protection targets those entities have achieved.

The full text of the Regulations (in simplified Chinese) is available at
http://www.fujian.gov.cn/zwgk/flfg/dfxfg/202108/t20210810_5666467.htm