New national guidelines to improve sewage treatment facilities

According to a document issued by the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, China will build 100 low-carbon sewage treatment plants by 2025 and aims to raise the utilization rate of recycled water to over 25 % in all prefecture-level cities that suffer water scarcity by that time.

The guideline details a series of measures to enhance energy efficiency and bolster greenhouse gas control in the sewage disposal sector.

  • The country, for instance, will optimize the layout of sewage treatment plants to avoid lengthy transportation of wastewater for disposal,
  • More underground sewage treatment plants will be built in cities with scarce land resources,
  • The spaces above such facilities will be used to build parks so as to improve the urban living environment and increase carbon sink capacity,
  • the phasing out of sewage treatment facilities with low energy efficiency will be accelerated,
  • China will also make efforts to tap the application of heat pumps in sewage treatment plants to provide air conditioning for nearby communities,
  • the application of solar photovoltaic power generation systems in sewage plants will be promoted in regions with rich solar resources, making full use of available spaces such as rooftops.

Another major concern in the document is the disposal of sludge.

  • Instead of turning to landfills for sludge disposal, China will make greater efforts to promote the utilization of sludge as a resource,
  • The country will ramp up efforts to collect more methane from sludge for utilization. More power generation stations fueled by the flammable gas will be built in sewage treatment plants.

The document also says that China will promote the consumption of reclaimed water in high water-consuming sectors, including car washes, golf courses and skiing facilities.

New national guidelines to improve sewage treatment facilities
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