Land-use regulation which restricts certain pollution-causing behaviors in specific regions is a key policy to prevent water pollution. Examples include Special Measures Areas for water quality conservation under the Framework Act on Environmental Policy, Water Supply Protection Areas under the Water Supply and Waterworks Installation Act, Riparian Buffer Zones under the Act on Water Management and Resident Support in the Four Major River Basins, and Discharging Facility Installation Restriction Areas under the Water Quality and Aquatic Ecosystem Conservation Act.
Priority pollutants were designated to ensure that the quality of public waters is managed at a safe level for human health and animal plant growth and development. There are 48 designated water pollutants, including organic substances, copper, lead, nickel, and cyanide, and 25 designated specified hazardous water pollutants, including heavy metals and phenols.
Effluent standards have been established for domestic sewage, industrial wastewater, and livestock excreta. Permissible emission levels for the industrial wastewater are established on a graded basis depending on the discharging quantity and the receiving water body. Receiving water bodies are divided into four classes, with “Clean” region which subjects to the strictest effluent standards, followed by “A” region (normal), “B” region (lax), and special case areas. Effluent standards for livestock excreta apply on a graded basis depending on the size and region of the livestock facility and are being progressively strengthened to account for the increased pollution and the advancements in environmental technology.
Previous water environment policy, which focused on physical and chemical water quality, was transformed to a system that manages both water quality and aquatic ecosystems as the Master Plan for Water Environment Management was formulated in September 2006. Accordingly, the Water Quality Conservation Act was amended to the Water Quality and Aquatic Ecosystem Conservation Act. The “Mid- to Long-Term Plan on Ecological Stream Restoration” (2010) was also formulated, and a variety of projects are being carried out, including assessment on ecological damage, restoration of aquatic ecosystem, research and development, restoration of dried out and covered rivers in urban areas, and restoration of wildlife crossings.
A water quality monitoring network is being systemically operated in public waters. As of December 2013, the network has been installed and is operated in 2,188 locations. And 67 automatic water quality monitoring stations are operated to detect pollution incidents effectively. The sediment monitoring network was newly introduced in the second half of 2011 to evaluate the sediment quality and the impact of sediments on water quality and aquatic ecosystems. As of December 2013, the network was operated in 177 locations. Water quality survey results are available through an official gazette and webpage (Water Information System, http://water.nier.go.kr). The Real-time Water Quality Information System (http://www.koreawqi.go.kr), providing real-time data of water quality, was also recently launched.
The integrity of aquatic ecosystem at major rivers has been surveyed and evaluated since 2007. “Aquatic Ecosystem Health” is a comprehensive indicator of (1) water quality, (2) ecological diversity and richness of aquatic organisms, and (3) habitat conditions for the reproduction, growth, and adaptation of organisms. Ecological integrity is a core goal of the current water environment policy which shifted its focus from physical and chemical water quality to the integrity or health of aquatic ecosystem. Accordingly, monitoring was extended from physical and chemical water quality parameters to fauna, flora, and habitat environments within and outside the rivers.
The aquatic ecosystem health survey monitors the four categories; epiphytic algae, fish, benthic macro-invertebrates, and habitat and riparian environments, and it quantitatively evaluates them with a four-point scale indicator. The survey began in 540 locations in 2007, which has since progressively increased to 960 locations (sections) as of the end of 2013.
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Last modified : 2016-11-03 22:58
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