A luxury Hong Kong hotel discharging wastewater at almost 4 times over the legal oil and grease limits has been fined HK$15,000 (US$1,911) by a local magistrates’ court. The Ritz-Carlton, which occupies the 102nd to 118th floors of the International Commerce Centre (ICC), was found to be discharging substandard water in August 2018, violating the requirements of its wastewater discharge license. Its operating company, Best Winners Limited was fined in the magistrates’ court for contravening the Water Pollution Control Ordinance (WPCO).
According to the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), enforcement officers conducted an inspection at the hotel on August 10 last year and found that the wastewater at the discharge outlet from one of the grease traps of the hotel was turbid and greasy.
“It was suspected that the grease trap was not operating properly, resulting in the discharge of substandard wastewater into communal sewers,” says the EPD. Officers then collected wastewater samples for analysis and the result showed that the concentration of oil and grease exceeded the upper limits of the wastewater discharge licence by 3.8 times. The department prosecuted the operating company of the hotel in accordance with the WPCO. Under the WPCO, anyone who discharges commercial or industrial wastewater into communal sewers not in compliance with the standard of the discharge licence commits an offence. Offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $200,000 (US$25,485) and six months’ imprisonment.
The hotel, which opened in March 2011, has subsequently taken improvement measures, according to the EPD, including installing an automatic chemical dosing system for treatment of oil and grease in wastewater, and conducting regular cleaning of grease traps to ensure their proper operation.