- What kinds of environmental permit and licence are required for my construction work?
The following environmental permits and licences may be required:
- Notification under the Air Pollution Control (Construction Dust) Regulation (See also Air Q.1)
- Specified Processes licence (See also Air Q.6)
- Construction Noise Permit (See also Noise Q.2)
- Water Pollution Control Ordinance licence (See also Wastewater Q.1)
- Billing account opening for construction waste disposal charging scheme (See also Waste Q.2)
- Chemical waste producer registration (See also Waste Q.5)
- Where can I get the application forms for the various types of environmental permits and licences?
You may either visit the EPD website on Application Forms to download the appropriate form or visit any one of the Regional Offices of the EPD.
- Where should I submit the licence application forms?
You can submit the completed forms, with the prescribed fees, if appropriate, to any one of the Regional Offices of the EPD.
- What are the fees for application of various types of environmental permits and licences?
You may visit the EPD website on Fees and Charges to get the information on the latest licences application fee.
- What kinds of construction work should I notify the EPD?
The main contractor should notify the EPD by submitting the prescribed form (Form NA) before the commencement of the following works: a. site formation;
c. demolition of a building;
d. work carried out in any part of a tunnel that is within 100m of any exit to the open air;
e. construction of the foundation of a building;
f. construction of the superstructure of a building; or
g. road construction work.
- What is "dusty material"?
Dusty material includes cement, earth, pulverized fuel ash, aggregates, silt, stonefines, sand, debris, sawdust and wooden chips.
- Are there any construction dust control measures?
Common construction dust control measures include:
- Water spraying
- Cover and enclosure
- Dust extraction and filtering
- Erect dust screen
- Good house-keeping
Please see "Cut Down Construction Dust" (Text Alternative)for more information.
Are there any special requirements for the dust screen? Should it be fire-resistant?
For construction of the superstructure of a building, where a scaffolding is erected around the perimeter of the building, dust screens, sheeting or netting may be selected. For demolition of a building, impervious dust screens or sheeting should be used. The Regulation does not specify any material for dust screen for its purpose. However, requirements of other government departments such as the Fire Services Department and Building Department should be complied with.
Are there any construction plant exhaust control measures?
Common construction plant exhaust control measures include:
- Particulate trap
- Regular plant maintenance
- Diversion of exhaust outlet
What kinds of construction work require a Specified Processes licence?
Operation of a concrete batching plant with total silo capacity exceeding 50 tonnes or a bitumen plant with capacity exceeding 250 kg per hour are common construction works classified as Specified Processes. The operator should submit an application (Form 1) to the EPD before operation.
Please see Schedule 1 of the Air Pollution Control Ordinance for full list of Specified Processes.
- What should I do if asbestos is found at construction site?
If asbestos is found at construction site, you should: a.Engage a registered asbestos consultant to investigate and prepare an asbestos investigation report (AIR) and an asbestos abatement plan (AAP);
b.Submit the AIR and AAP to the EPD for approval; and
c.Engage a registered asbestos contractor to carry out the asbestos removal work in accordance with the EPD approved AAP
- What are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)?
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are organic chemical compounds that have high enough vapour pressures under normal conditions to significantly vaporize and enter the atmosphere contributing to smog pollution. They are present in a wide variety of construction materials such as architectural paints, adhesives and sealants.
- What kinds of product are under the control of the Air Pollution Control (Volatile Organic Compounds) Regulation?
There are 51 types of architectural paints/coatings, 7 types of printing inks, 6 broad categories of consumer products, 14 types of vehicle refinishing paints/coatings, 36 types of vessel and pleasure craft paints/coatings and 47 types of adhesives/sealants under the control of the Regulation. They are defined as "Regulated Products" under the Regulation.
Please see "A Guide to the Air Pollution Control (Volatile Organic Compounds) Regulation" for more information.
- Am I subject to control under the Air Pollution Control (Volatile Organic Compounds) Regulation?
Users of regulated products such as paints are not subject to control. You are subject to control under the Regulation only if you are: a. an importer of the regulated products for sale or use in Hong Kong;
b. a manufacturer in Hong Kong manufacturing any of the regulated products for sale or use in Hong Kong; or
c. an owner of a lithographic heatset web printing machine in Hong Kong.
Please see “A Guide to the Air Pollution Control (Volatile Organic Compounds) Regulation” for more information.
- What is noise from construction sites?
Under the Noise Control Ordinance, noise from construction sites is noise generated from construction work which includes any work in connection with or for the construction, demolition, re-construction, maintenance or repair of buildings, roads and public facilities, or any work related to these kinds of work. Construction activities are divided into two categories:
a. general construction work (such as construction, reclamation, site formation, non-percussive piling work, excavation, formwork, concrete grouting and so on); and
b. percussive piling (such as piling by means of hammering or other percussive methods).
When can I carry out construction works?
For general construction work, you may carry out construction works between 0700 and 1900 hours on normal weekdays. Construction Noise Permit is required at any other times.
For percussive piling, Construction Noise Permit is required between 0700 and 1900 hours on normal weekdays. Percussive piling is strictly prohibited at any other times.
- Are there any construction noise control measures?
Common construction noise control measures include: - Switch off idling equipment
- Close all engine doors of equipment
- Regular maintenance of equipment
- Fit muffler or silencer for equipment
- Erect noise barrier or noise enclosure for equipment
- Use quiet construction method, e.g. use saw-cut or hydraulic crusher instead of excavator-mounted percussive breaker
- Use of Quality Powered Mechanical Equipment
- If I got a Construction Noise Permit (CNP), can I use equipment with lower noise level than that permitted/specified in the CNP?
No. It would be an offence if you use any Powered Mechanical Equipment (PME) that is not on the list of PME permitted/specified under the Construction Noise Permit (CNP). However, you can apply for a CNP covering different scenarios or under different groupings.
- Can I carry out maintenance work of mechanical plants on Sundays or Public Holidays?
Maintenance work in connection with construction work is considered as construction work under the Noise Control Ordinance. You should apply for a Construction Noise Permit for carrying out maintenance work on Sundays or Public Holidays.
- What kind of construction equipment requires Noise Emission Label (NEL)?
Hand-held breakers having a mass of above 10 kg and air compressor capable of supplying compressed air at 500 kPa or above intended for carrying out construction work in Hong Kong are required to be fitted with noise emission labels.
Do I need a Water Pollution Control Ordinance (WPCO) Licence for construction work?
All kinds of effluent, whether discharged into communal sewers, storm drains, river courses or water bodies, are subject to control and should obtain a Water Pollution Control Ordinance (WPCO) licence before making discharge, with the exception of:
a. discharges of domestic sewage into sewer; and
b. discharges of unpolluted water into storm drains/water bodies.
If your construction work makes a discharge not under the above exemption, a WPCO licence should be obtained.
My discharge already met with the usual effluent standards as specified in the Technical Memorandum issued under the Ordinance, why do I need a Water Pollution Control Ordinance (WPCO) licence?
Without a licence, there will be no statutory defence available against the prosecution brought under the Water Pollution Control Ordinance (WPCO) for discharging, unless the discharge is unpolluted water (essentially uncontaminated rainwater) into a storm drain or water bodies, or domestic sewage into a foul sewer. Therefore, although it is not an offence for not having a WPCO licence, it is most advisable to apply for a licence and strictly adhere to the conditions of the licence.
Should I treat rainwater accumulated in construction site?
Yes, all contaminated runoff is required to be treated before discharge to meet the statutory requirements. The contractor should take all necessary preventive measures, e.g. covering stockpile of soil materials with plastic sheets, to avoid the contamination of surface runoff.
- Can I discharge construction site effluent into a foul sewer instead of storm drain?
Generally, yes. Nonetheless, the contractor should always collect the construction wastewater and provide proper treatment before discharging into the foul sewer. More importantly, approval from the Drainage Services Department should be sought for any discharge to a foul sewer. The contractor should minimize the quantity of wastewater to be discharged and avoid overloading the sewerage system.
- Are there any water pollution control measures?
Common water pollution control measures include:
- Minimize water consumption
- Cover up exposed soil surface and soil stockpile to minimize contamination of surface runoff during heavy rainfall
- Deploy drip trays for stationary plants and chemical drums to avoid leakage
- Construct temporary site drainage for collection of construction site wastewater
- Deploy wastewater treatment facilities such as sedimentation tanks, petrol interceptor and pH regulator
- Reuse treated construction wastewater
- What kind of wastewater treatment system should I use in construction site?
Wastewater from construction site generally consists of silt from earthwork; oil and grease from plant maintenance; and acid and alkaline from chemicals. The wastewater treatment system should preferably compose of sedimentation tank; petrol interceptor; and pH regulator. You should also understand your wastewater flow and pollutant load to ensure the treatment system has sufficient treatment capacity.
What should I do with my construction wastes?
You should segregate the construction wastes into inert materials (e.g. rock, soil, brick and debris) and non-inert wastes (e.g. timber, bamboo and plastic) for on site reuse or offsite recycle. Surplus inert materials and non-inert wastes should be disposed of at public fill reception facilities and landfills respectively. Mixed construction wastes should be sent to sorting facilities. Open burning of construction wastes is prohibited.
Do I need a Billing Account for disposal of construction waste?
For construction work with contract value of $1 million or above, the main contractor should make an application for a Billing Account within 21 days after the contract is awarded for disposal of construction waste. For construction work with contract value less than $1 million, the main contractor may either apply for a Billing Account or engage an agent with a Billing Account at any time for disposal of construction waste.
How much should I pay for disposal of construction wastes to Designated Waste Disposal Facilities?
- For disposal of inert construction waste to public fill reception facilities: $71 per tonne
- For disposal of non-inert construction waste to landfills: $175 per tonne
- For disposal of mixed construction waste to sorting facilities: $200 per tonne
- What is chemical waste?
Chemical wastes are waste materials, unwanted substances or by-products which: a. Contain any of the substances or chemicals specified in Schedule 1 of the Waste Disposal (Chemical Waste)(General) Regulation; and
b. Constitute a danger to health or risk of pollution to the environment.
Common examples of chemical waste generated from a construction site are spent lubrication oil, paint, organic solvent, battery acid, alkali and asbestos.
- What should I do with chemical waste?
You should properly manage and store your chemical waste in accordance with the requirements of the regulation. You should:
a. Register as a chemical waste producer (CWP) before producing any chemical waste;
b. Arrange proper package, labelling and storage of chemical waste;
c. Engage licensed waste collector for collection and transportation;
d. Arrange for disposal at a licensed treatment facility; and
e. Keep record of trip-tickets for inspection.
- What can I do to prevent illegal land filling and fly-tipping?
You should do the following to prevent illegal land filling and fly-tipping:
- Monitor waste production and waste flow
- Employ only reliable and reputable waste transport companies for disposal of waste at suitable waste disposal facilities
- Implement a trip ticket system
Please see EPD website on Control of Land Filling and Fly-tipping Activities for more information.