China Tightens Water & Air Emissions Rules for Certain Sectors

by China Water Risk 26 May, 2014

26 May, 2014 – State Council released the “Energy Saving and Low Carbon Development for 2014-2015 Action Plan”. Shortly after on 30 May, 2014 the MEP released the “Water & Air Emissions Rules For Boilers, Incinerators & Some Refineries”. Industrial restructuring & pollution control are key themes.

Headline for sectors mentioned are:

  • Steel: reduction of capacity production by 15 million tonnes by the end of 2015
  • Aluminium: mentioned but no reduction amount specified
  • Cement: reduction of capacity production by 100 million tonnes by the end of 2015
  • Plate glass: reduction of capacity production by 20 million tonnes (in “weight cases”) by the end of 2015
  • Coal:
    • Coal share of energy mix to decrease
    • Beijing, Tianjin, the Yangtze River Delta region and the Pearl River Delta region need to achieve negative growth, to return to 2012 consumption levels
    • Non-fossil fuel to comprise 11.4% of primary fuel consumption by end of 2015
    • Clean coal and natural gas consumption should increase
    • Coal-fired boilers are to be ugraded and some closed (more on boilers below)
  • Autos: 
    • 6 million old vehicles to be phased out in 2014
    • All newly operated non-road mobile machinery from 1 October must meet China III diesel emissions standards
  • Boilers:
    • All boilers (fired by coal, oil or gas) must keep nitrogen oxide emissions below 400 milligrams per cubic meter
    • For coal-fired boilers, mercury and mercury chemical compounds must be below 0.05 milligram per cubic meter
    • The standards for steam boilers above 10 metric tons of output per hour and hot water boilers above 7 megawatts, take effect 1 October, 2015. For other boilers, the standards begin on 1 July, 2016
  • Incinerators:
    • Residential solid waste that is incinerated must have dioxin emissions below 0.1 nanogram per cubic meter
    • Soil, construction material and normal industrial waste that is incinerated (more than 100 metric tons processed) must keep dioxin levels below 0.1 nanogram per cubic meter
    • Current incinerators must comply with the standards by 1 January, 2016 and facilities built after this must comply from the date they begin operation

Pollution control headlines are:

  • Strengthen Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Process: EIAs are to be strictly implemented. Moreover, on 28 May 2014 the MEP came out with “Guidance on Promoting Public Participation in Environmental Protection” (see more here)
  • Punitive Pricing, Penalties & Green Financing: The plan discusses the addition of a punitive tariff policy to the already existing tiered pricing scheme. Companies that lag in energy savings could be charged more. Green financing is also encouraged as is the improvement of sewage treatment fees and more research into sludge treatment & wastewater treatment costs
  • Carbon Trading: Reiterates the 2014 Economic and Social Development Plan, that carbon emission trading is to be researched
  • Air emissions reduction: The plan maps the installation of desulphurisation and denitrification equipment by province. It also pushes to strengthen the management of hydroflurocarbons emissions and accelerate their destruction
  • Urban sewage: The plan specifies by the end of 2015 the daily processing capacity urban sewage treatment will be 16 million tonnes
  • Water emissions reduction: For boilers, incinerators & some refineries, new limits to be set for COD, total phosphorus, total nitrogen, ammonia nitrogen and other heavy metal pollutants, such as mercury

Although only water emissions standards were released for boilers, incinerators and non-road mobile machinery more regulations for water are expected later this year in the “Water Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan” – more on this expected plan here.

See here for the full “Energy Saving and Low Carbon Development for 2014-2015 Action Plan” (Chinese only)