On July 8, 2021, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Vietnam released a draft National Technical Standard (QCVN) on industrial wastewater. The draft QCVN is an amendment to the current National Technical Standard on Industrial Wastewater QCVN 40:2011/BTNMT, and consists of additional regulated substances, revised standard values, and controlled pollutants. Overall, it can be said that the new regulations are more stringent than the current effluent regulations.
The original text of this draft can be downloaded from the following URL:
Clarification of scope and coverage
This draft technical standard specifies the maximum permissible values of pollutants in discharged industrial wastewater, but the following are excluded from its application:
- Domestic wastewater, urban wastewater, and wastewater from concentrated residential areas
- Livestock wastewater
- Cooling water
However, if domestic wastewater and livestock wastewater are combined with industrial wastewater and collected in a centralized treatment system, they are regulated as industrial wastewater.
Specifying the destination for receiving wastewater
The receiving water body of wastewater are divided into three categories, A through C, each with different maximum permissible values. The most stringent standard is A.
- Area A: Rivers, lakes, and marshes.
- Area B: Saltwater tidal flats, coastal waters for aquatic protection or recreational use, etc.
- Area C: Other surface water and seawater.
Strengthening of pollutants management
Compared to the current QCVN 40:2011/BTNMT, the number of pollutants regulated in industrial wastewater in this draft is increased from 33 to 66. Among them, the maximum permissible values of BOD, COD, and TSS are specified according to the total discharge volume as follows:
Total discharge volume
Total discharge volume
|1||BOD5 (20 ºC)||mg/L||40||80||120||30||60||80|
The maximum permissible values for other pollutants (63 substances) are specified in Table 2 of this draft. The newly added pollutants are No. 21 to 24, 27 and 43 to 66 in the table.
Determination of controlled pollutants
For the first time, the details on how to determine the pollutants to be controlled in industrial wastewater is proposed in the draft. The controlled pollutants here will be the parameters for which periodic environmental measurements must be carried out in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports and environmental licenses.
Following the comprehensive revision of the Law on Environmental Protection (72/2020/QH14) in 2020, the revision of various subordinate laws and regulations are being discussed in Vietnam. This draft technical standard is a very important regulations as it specifically sets industrial wastewater management rules. Relevant companies will need to be aware of the following points:
- Provide the authority with sufficient and accurate information on their raw materials, fuels, and chemicals used, as well as safety data sheets (MSDS) and a list of potential pollutants subject to periodic measurement of industrial wastewater, when applying for an EIA report or environmental license.
- Report to the competent authority any changes in the contaminants subject to periodic measurement if there are new contaminants that have occurred.