A Guide to the Water Pollution Control Ordinance

1. The quality of the waters of Hong Kong has been deteriorating over the years as a result of water pollution arising from population pressure and economic growth. In order to safeguard public health, to protect the fabric of the sewage collection and disposal systems and to contain the problem before the quality of the receiving waters deteriorates beyond natural recovery, it is necessary to implement controls on wastewater discharges.
2. The Water Pollution Control Ordinance (Chapter 358), was enacted in 1980 and amended in 1990 and 1993. It provides the main statutory framework for the declaration of water control zones to cover the whole of Hong Kong and the establishment of water quality objectives. The objectives describe the water quality that should be achieved and maintained in order to promote the conservation and best use of the waters of Hong Kong in the public interest. Within each water control zone, all discharges or deposits are controlled by a licensing system. The Director of Environmental Protection (DEP) is the Authority responsible for licensing and controlling these discharges.
In Hong Kong, there are a total of ten water control zones and four supplementary water control zones:
  • Tolo Harbour and Channel Water Control Zone;
  • Southern Water Control Zone;
  • Port Shelter Water Control Zone;
  • Junk Bay Water Control Zone;
  • Deep Bay Water Control Zone;
  • Mirs Bay Water Control Zone;
  • North Western Water Control Zone;
  • Western Buffer Water Control zone;
  • Eastern Buffer Water Control Zone;
  • Victoria Harbour Water Control Zone (Phase One, Phase Two, Phase Three);
  • Tolo Harbour Supplementary Water Control Zone;
  • Southern Supplementary Water Control Zone;
  • Second Southern Supplementary Water Control Zone; and
  • North Western Supplementary Water Control Zone.
4. The delineation of water control zones and supplementary water control zones is shown on the map in this guide. Major areas within each control zone are listed in Annex 1. If you have any doubt as to whether a certain area is within a specific water control zone, you should contact the respective Regional Office of the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) for clarification (Please see Annex 2).
5. Apart from control on the discharge and deposit, Government also has plans to provide new sewers and improve existing communal sewers in the territory. Most premises that are not currently served by communal sewers will gradually be provided with one. Connecting to communal sewers leading to government treatment plants is the most effective and reliable way to dispose of wastewater.
6. This guide is for explanatory purpose only and is intended to explain the legislative controls under the Water Pollution Control Ordinance. In case of doubt, the reader is advised to consult the following ordinance, regulations and technical memorandum for details:
The following booklets and leaflet provide guidance to prevent pollution :
  • Guidance Notes on Discharges from Village Houses;
  • Grease Traps for Restaurants and Food Processors;
  • Guidelines for the Design of Small Sewage Treatment Plants; and
  • Connections to Sewers under the Water Pollution Control Ordinance.
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User review date: 
Monday, 17 September, 2018