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Hong Kong environmental issues

Three companies working on Hong Kong’s Central-Wan Chai Bypass fined for for making too much noise and pouring away dirty water

  • Courts hands down HK$157,500 fine for 16 offences
  • Samples show that two discharges of untreated waste water exceeded limits on solids by 172 times and 32 times
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 November, 2018, 9:57pm
UPDATED : Friday, 23 November, 2018, 12:03pm

Three contractors building a major road link on Hong Kong Island were fined on Thursday for making too much noise and pouring their dirty waste water into drains during construction.

Chun Wo Construction and Engineering, China Railway Group and subcontractor Wah Keung Metal Engineering, along with the workers involved, were slapped with a HK$157,500 (US$20,100) fine by Eastern Court for a total of 16 offences under noise control and water pollution laws.

They were working on the Central-Wan Chai Bypass. Scheduled for completion in the next few months after years of delays, the road is being built across the island’s northern shore to ease congestion in Wan Chai, Admiralty and Central.

The defendants were found to have done work using unauthorised powered mechanical equipment, used more machines than were allowed, and illegally carried out work several times during restricted hours at night and on Sundays.

An investigation also found that workers discharged waste water without proper treatment into storm drains at least twice between June and August last year.

“The waste water samples showed that the concentrations of suspended solids exceeded the discharge standards stated in the [work] licence by 172 times and 32 times respectively,” the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), which issued the prosecutions, said in a statement on Thursday.

The construction sites involved the eastern tunnel works on the project, the North Point section of the tunnel and the Island Eastern Corridor Link.

“The EPD has contacted the Civil Engineering and Development Department and the Highways Department and requested them to step up their supervision on contractors and to follow up the cases,” an EPD spokesman said.

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The Post contacted both departments for comment.

The Central-Wan Chai Bypass and Eastern Corridor Link project involves building a 4.5km-long pair of three-lane trunk roads and a 3.7km tunnel connecting the Rumsey Street Flyover in Central with the Island Eastern Corridor at North Point near City Garden.

It is expected to ease congestion on Gloucester Road, Harcourt Road and Connaught Road Central.

Work began in 2009 and the entire project was scheduled to open in 2017, only to be delayed by budget overruns and technical difficulties.

In 2013, the government requested another HK$8 billion (US$ 1 billion) on top of the original HK$28 billion (HK$3.5 billion) price tag, sparking anger from lawmakers.

The most recent commissioning date pencilled in by the Highways Department was late 2018 or early 2019.