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First tertiary sewage treatment plant opens in Ngong Ping

The Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works, Dr Sarah Liao, said today (March 18) that the launch of the first tertiary sewage treatment plant and reclaimed water facilities built in Ngong Ping represented a major step forward towards possible wider application of water recyling.

Officiating at the Ngong Ping Sewage Treatment Works (NPSTW) opening ceremony, Dr Liao said: "The Government is actively implementing the Total Water Management scheme which covers the key areas of water conservation, water resources protection and new water resources.

"One of the main initiatives in the Total Water Management scheme is implementing the pilot project on the use of reclaimed water in Ngong Ping."

NPSTW uses advanced biological, filtering and disinfections process to treat sewage.  The tertiary treated water becomes reclaimed water after chlorination, which will be used for flushing in public toilets nearby and for rearing fish and controlled irrigation within NPSTW.

Dr Liao said that the opening of the NPSTW carried a special meaning as it responded to the theme of the United Nations' 'World Water Day 2006', which would fall on next Wednesday (March 22).

Dr Liao said, "Reclaimed water would also be used for flushing in the Ngong Ping Cable Car Terminal and associated tourist facilities due to open in the middle of the year.

"Other than this project, there will be another wider scale pilot scheme on reclaimed water reuse to be implemented in Shek Wu Hui, North District, later this year.  Based on the experiences accumulated, the Bureau and other departments concerned will assess the various aspects of the schemes including technology, administration, cost effectiveness and acceptance by the general public, and will study the possibility of extended use of reclaimed water."

The Director of Drainage Services, Mr Wong Chi-keung said at the opening ceremony that another characteristic of NPSTW was its design with rural features.

He said that due to proximity to the Tian Tan Buddha Statue and the future Cable Car Terminal, the Drainage Services Department had built most of the facilities underground, introduced greening measures and reduced the height of the plant in order to minimise the visual impact on the environment and to integrate the plant with the environment in harmony.

Mr Wong was confident that after the trees had grown up, members of the public or visitors looking down from the cable cars and the Buddha platform would notice that the advanced treatment plant blended well with the natural scenery.

The Ngong Ping Sewerage Treatment Information Centre inside the treatment plant was also opened today.  Through exhibits, models, computer games and videos, the centre serves to educate the general public on tertiary sewage treatment, use of reclaimed water and the total water management concept in a simple and attractive way.

The Information Centre will be open to the public from tomorrow (March 19).  There will be guided tours to enhance public awareness on issues of reclaimed resources and environmental protection.

NPSTW can treat about 3000 cubic metres of sewage every day, sufficient to meet the need of the increase in visitors following the launch of the cable car system.

Costing about $240 million, the construction of the treatment plant started in August 2003 and was completed at the end of last year.  Testing of facilities was also completed.

Ends/Saturday, March 18, 2006