Effluent Standard for Industrial Wastewater

Effluent standards are set to control the pollutant concentration in the industrial effluent. The effluent standards have been set for 49 parameters including organic substances, suspended solid, phenols etc. The characteristics of the receiving water body such as water quality grade are considered in the application of the effluent standards. Since 1997, nitrogen and phosphorus have been added to the effluent standards for the facilities located at Paldang Lake, Daecheong Lake, and Nakdong River basin to control eutrophication. It has been extended nationwide since 2003.

In order to comprehensively manage the toxic impact on ecosystems of the numerous unknown hazardous substances in effluent, the effluent standard of “toxic unit” (TU) was established. The TU standard has been applied to industrial facilities, SWTPs and wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) since 2010 by stages. In 2013, five parameters, including naphthalene, were newly added to the effluent standards.

Permit and Reporting System for the Installation of Wastewater Discharging Facilities

A permit or reporting is required prior to the installation of the wastewater-discharging facility. The facilities which may significantly influence water quality must obtain a permit. For example, the facilities that are located in a Special Measures Areas or discharge the specified hazardous water pollutants require the permit from environmental authorities. Any other case must be reported before the installation.

Facilities which discharge specific hazardous substances are not permitted to install in the sensitive areas such as source water protection areas and designated lakes.

To monitor the compliance with effluent standards, wastewater-discharging facilities, public SWTPs and WWTPs, of a certain size or larger have been required since 2007 to be equipped with the real-time monitoring device of pH, BOD/COD, SS, T-N, and T-P. As of December 2012, the real-time tele-metering system (TMS) has been distributed in 688 facilities including wastewater-discharging ones (225), public SWTP (371), and WWTPs (92). The TMS data of the wastewater-discharging facilities are transmitted to and monitored by the remote water quality surveillance system at the Korea Environment Corporation.

Emission Charge System

Emission charges system is an economic incentive to encourage the compliance of effluent standards and the reduction of pollutant discharge from wastewater-discharging facilities. The charge system is composed of a basic and excess charge. An excess charge is imposed when the effluent exceeds effluent standards. If the effluent of a facility complies with its effluent standard but exceeds the effluent standard of WWTPs, a basic charges is imposed to the facility. The excess charges is imposed on 19 parameters including organic substances, suspended solid, cadmium, and cyanide, while the basic charge is imposed only on organic substances and suspended solid.

The emission charge is reduced or exempted for (1) small facilities, (2) facilities which directly discharge effluents to SWTPs and (3) facilities that reuse wastewater. If a facility admits the violation of the effluent standard before the inspection by an environmental agency and takes appropriate emergency actions, such as operation shutdown or wastewater treatment through an external service, the excess charge may be reduced (amended in 2006).

Installation and Operation of Wastewater Treatment Plants

WWTPs are constructed to treat large volumes of wastewater discharged from industrial complexes and dense factory areas. From 1983 to 1991, six WWTPs were constructed with the investment from the National Treasury. After construction, the cost is covered by the payment of the wastewater-discharging facilities (The Polluter Pays Principle), together with assistance from the National Treasury. Total 81 WWTPs in industrial complexes are in operation as of the end of 2012.

Wastewater Treatment Service System

A facility whose effluent is less than 50m3 per day or that has been exempted from compulsory installation of a wastewater treatment process may consign its effluent to an external wastewater treatment service agency. The wastewater treatment services agency can be registered only when it satisfies the requirements on technological capability, facilities, and equipments. And the registered agencies are inspected regularly. This system allows small facilities to manage its effluent with ease and it ensures the effective wastewater management.

For more information, please contact us :
Public Relations Team  (mepr@korea.kr)   
Last modified : 2017-12-12 08:38

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