A SENIOR mainland official says China is 'very likely to reject' any alternative sewerage plan proposed by Hong Kong if it means awarding the contract to Jardines. The official said the Chinese Government would not want to see 'another container terminal episode' - a reference to China's outrage over the contract awarded to Jardines for Container Terminal 9. One of the options under consideration by both sides is a biological treatment plant, which Hong Kong sewerage experts originally rejected because of cost. Interest in biological treatment was renewed this year by Trafalgar House, which specialises in the process. Trafalgar House is controlled by Jardines. A Trafalgar House spokesman said its links to Jardines were minimal and that should not influence either China or Hong Kong's final decision on the final awarding of sewerage contracts. Hong Kong and China are locked in negotiations over the construction of a $12 billion sewerage scheme for the territory. The scheme is one of the largest in the world. The original plan proposed by the Government would dump partially treated sewage into Chinese waters off Zhuhai through a 28-kilometre-deep sea pipeline. Green groups have been pushing for biological processing because it gives a higher level of treatment to the sewage. The cleaner effluent could be dumped closer to Hong Kong waters. The long outfall plan was rejected by China during the first two rounds of Sino-British Joint Liaison Group (JLG) expert talks. Hong Kong officials have provided China with unlimited access to eight years worth of documents on the plan. Originally the Government was adamant that the pipeline was the best option, but has softened its stance, saying it will proceed with biological treatment if China, after reviewing the documents, believes it is the stronger option. If China does choose biological treatment, it could find itself in another political boxing match since Trafalgar House is one of a dozen companies worldwide which specialise in constructing biological treatment plants. 'The scheme has always been a step by step process,' the Secretary for Works James Blake said. 'And this process did include the deep sea outfall as well as the other options. 'It was always intended that the final option would be subject to review by China. 'Before any plan can be approved we must do a detailed environmental impact assessment. It will be done in close consultation with the Chinese because the outfall extends into Chinese waters. 'It will take into account the full impact on the entire marine ecology and problems which may result with fishing. 'I personally would like to see the expert discussions [done] in any appropriate forum, which includes discussions with our counterparts outside the formal JLG arena.'