Taipei, The Taichung City government is considering ordering coal-fired Taichung Power Plant to suspend operation of four generators after wastewater from the plant has been repeatedly found to contain excessive levels of nitrate nitrogen pollution.
The city government said the plant discharged polluted waste water in violation of environmental protection laws three times in the first three months of this year, according to a United Daily News report Wednesday.
The last round of tests on March 21 were conducted on waste water from the plant's number 1-4 generators and showed a level of nitrate nitrogen 200 percent higher than the maximum allowable level.
As a repeat offender, the plant could be fined up to NT$20 million (US$648,462) and be ordered to suspend operations, according to the report.
State-run Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower), the owner of the plant, said Wednesday that shutting down the four coal-fired generators would reduce the nation's total operating reserve margin -- the percentage of generating capacity available to the power grid that can be called on within a short period of time -- to about 3 percent.
Taipower seeks to maintain an operating reserve margin of 10 percent during the summer, according to company spokesman Hsu Tsao-hua who said if the plant is forced to suspend operations, it would strain power supply.
Hsu said that shutting the generators would result in a reduction of 2.2 gigawatts in Taipower's power supply, equivalent to about 6-7 percent of Taiwan's total operating reserve margin, and could cause the operating reserve margin to drop to about 3-4 percent.
The plant was fined NT$3.48 million by the city government from August 2018 to March for excessive levels of nitrate nitrogen in its waste water, according to the UDN report.
Wu Chih-chao head of the city's Environmental Protection Bureau, said Wednesday that since January, samples of waste water taken from the plant during three inspections of its waste treatment facilities have contained excessive levels of nitrogen pollution.
As the plant has been found to have violated environmental protection laws at least twice in a year, the city government is mulling a fine of up to NT$20 million, according to Wu.
The government has asked the plant to improve the quality of discharged waste water within a specified time period.
Should the plant fail to do so, it could be ordered to stop the operation of some of its generators in accordance with the Water Pollution Control Act, Wu added.
In response, Taipower said it submitted a report on building a new waste treatment facility and improving existing ones at the plant to the city government on April 2, adding that it has also taken medium and long-term measures to further improve related facilities.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel