The year 2015-16 was another fruitful year for the Drainage Services Department (DSD). All sewerage and flood prevention works have achieved good progress, and it is indeed encouraging that the facilities under Harbour Area Treatment Scheme (HATS) Stage 2A were fully commissioned in December 2015.
“Cleaner Harbour • Better Life”
This year, we give the Sustainability Report a title of “Cleaner Harbour • Better Life” in order to illustrate our colleagues’ concerted mission and determination to protect the Harbour.
HATS, implemented in two stages, is the largest-ever environmental infrastructure project in Hong Kong, spanning two decades at a total cost of $25.8 billion. Adopting superb engineering techniques to overcome constraints, the project constructed more than 44 kilometres of deep tunnels at a depth as low as 160 metres below sea level and uplifted the annual sewage treatment capacity of Stonecutters Island Sewage Treatment Works (SCISTW) to 900 million cubic metres within the same footprint, enabling it to serve over 5 million citizens. As such, HATS was bestowed one of the “Hong Kong People Engineering Wonders in the 21st Century” by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers in 2013 and has received multiple awards from international professional institutions in recent years1.
As early as in 1994, I was fortunate enough to have begun participating in the works of HATS Stage 1. At that time, the project team had to resolve the constraints and difficulties of expanding SCISTW in-situ and constructing the deep tunnels amidst extremely complex and ever-changing underground environment. Although the task was exceedingly difficult, we grasped the nettle and with great teamwork, HATS Stage 1 was eventually completed in 2001. Now, after over a decade, HATS Stage 2A has smoothly sailed through the many milestones of planning, design, construction, testing and commissioning, etc., and I have also returned to DSD and been able to witness in person the full commissioning of its facilities. I wish to particularly point out that the two stages of the project spanned 10 District Council areas, including Sai Kung, Kwun Tong, Kowloon City, Yau Tsim Mong, Kwai Tsing, Eastern District, Wan Chai, Central and Western District, Southern District and Sham Shui Po. All along, we have listened intently to the views of the public and did our best to address their concerns. Thanks to the support and tolerance of all stakeholders, HATS was successfully completed.
All sewage from both sides of the Victoria Harbour is now collected through the deep tunnels and conveyed to the SCISTW for treatment and disinfection before discharging into the waters west of the Harbour. With the Government’s years of effort, the water quality of the Habour has improved continuously and the Cross Harbour Race was resumed in 2011 after a suspension of over 30 years. Some closed beaches, the water quality of which was poor in the past, were also re-opened successively. Since sewage is no longer discharged into the Harbour, the water quality has been further improved and becomes beneficial for achieving the vision of promoting water-friendly culture and activities, as initiated in the 2015 Policy Address, to create a “Better Life” for the citizens of Hong Kong.
Effective Flood Protection and Revitalisation of Water Bodies
We have also taken a big stride in our initiatives of flood protection and revitalisation of water bodies. During the year, we eliminated two flooding blackspots at Ping Kong, Sheung Shui and Nam Wa Po, Tai Po, reducing the number of flooding blackspots in the territory to eight. We will continue the implementation of drainage improvement works, including Regulation of Shenzhen River Stage 4, Kai Tak River Improvement Works and Happy Valley Underground Stormwater Storage Scheme. Meanwhile, we are conducting review studies of the Drainage Master Plans of each district to address the impacts of global climate change. The review studies for Kowloon East and West were completed this year.
Apart from enhancing the capacity of drainage channels, I wish to specifically mention that DSD would also include appropriate ecological features in the designs to cultivate a better living environment for the public. For instance, Kai Tak River Improvement Works have squarely demonstrated the concept of “Blue-Green Infrastructure”. On completion of the project, Kai Tak River will exemplify “Blue” water bodies while “Green” landscape features will integrate the river with the community and its environs. In this connection, we promulgated the “Guidelines on Environmental and Ecological Considerations for River Channel Design” last year to share our experience of revitalizing water bodies with the industry.
Striving for Excellence and Achieving Greater Success
DSD is committed to promoting environmental protection and incorporating such concepts into facility operation. We will continue to apply international energy management systems at various sewage treatment facilities, and the number of sewage treatment works with carbon audit has increased to eight in the year. At the same time, through enhancing plant facilities, building green roofs, utilizing biogas for generating electricity, adopting energy-saving equipment and installing solar panels, we have further saved energy and reduced carbon emissions. In late 2015, our Kowloon City No. 1 and No. 2 Sewage Pumping Stations were bestowed the highest Platinum rating under the BEAM Plus Assessment for New Buildings, a first-time award for government infrastructure facilities.
The successful implementation of all the above work of DSD hinges on our mainstay – each and every DSD staff member, our most precious asset. Therefore, we have continued to proactively provide them with training to enhance their knowledge, skills and standard of professional services. We are also mindful of the occupational safety and health of our staff and working partners, and have organized site visits and experience-sharing sessions from time to time to facilitate cultivation of a safe working environment.
Time flies and DSD has quietly embarked on its 28th year of service for the Hong Kong citizens. Looking ahead, we will continue to do our best to take up the challenges arising from works projects, facility operation and climate change. I trust, with strong cohesion and by upholding our values of “Customer Satisfaction, Quality, Commitment and Teamwork”, we are able to surmount all the difficulties and provide the public with higher quality services.
Edwin TONG Ka-hung
Director of Drainage Services
|(1)||“Distinction Award” in the category of “Wastewater Project of the Year” at Global Water Awards 2016 and "Highly Commended Award" in the category of "International Project of the Year" at British Construction Industry Awards 2016.|