Stricter Emission Limits for Air & Water Proposed in China for Electrical Product Manufacturing Facilities

by Xiaolu Wang 19 Nov. 2015

On October 8, 2015 the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection published on its website, the proposed Emission standard of pollutants for electrical industry. The Proposal, once adopted, would provide emission limits for the air and water pollutants discharged by facilities that operate in the electrical material and equipment manufacturing industry. These emission limits proposed would be more stringent than the ones provided under the Integrated Wastewater Discharge Standards (污水综合排放标准) and the Integrated Air Emission Standards (大气污染物综合排放标准) that are currently in force. 

Scope of application
Specifically, the Proposal would apply to facilities that manufacture one or more of the following products (concerned facilities):

  • special electronic materials (电子专用材料), such as semiconductor materials;
  • electrical units (电子元件), such as electric transformers;
  • printed circuit boards (印制电路板);
  • semiconductor devices (半导体器件);
  • photoelectron components (光电子器件), such as optical-to-electrical converter;
  • display devices (显示器件), such as LED monitors; and
  • electron terminals products (电子终端产品), such as computers.

Facilities should note that compliance with the emission limits provided under the Proposal would not be mandatory for all other facilities that operate in the electrical industry. It is, however, recommended that these facilities comply with these emission limits. Detailed information on the definition of each above-mentioned product can be found in the Proposal.

Summary of the emission limits imposed on air and water pollutants
The Proposal, once adopted, would provide two sets of emission limits on a total of 20 water pollutants, such as ammonia nitrogen and total phosphorus, and 15 air pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide. The first set of limits would apply to concerned facilities under most circumstances. The second set of limits would only apply in designated locations that are identified by the Ministry of Environmental Protection or provincial level Environmental Protection Bureaus. The second set of limits would be more stringent than the first set and would only apply in locations that are suffering from severe environmental pollution and have low carrying capacity (环境容量).

In addition to the emission limits that would apply to the air emissions measured at a concerned facility, the Proposal would also provide emission limits that apply at the boundary of this facility. Different from the emission limits applicable to a concerned facility itself, these limits would only regulate the following air pollutants: particulate matters, benzene, toluene, xylene, non-methane hydrocarbon, and ammonia.

Testing methods for the concentration of air and water pollutants would also be cited under the Proposal, once adopted.

Proposed effective dates

The Proposal would also clarify the effective dates of the proposed emission limits for different facilities, once adopted, as follows:

  • For facilities that have obtained an approval for their environmental impact assessment reports or have started their operations before the effective date of the Proposal, the emission limits provided in Table One and Four under the Proposal would apply beginning on 1 July 2018;
  • For facilities that obtain an approval for their environmental impact assessment reports on or after the effective date of the Proposal, the emission limits provided in Table One and Four under the Proposal would apply beginning on 1 July 2016.

Public comments on the Proposal will be accepted until 5 November 2015. Facilities can submit comments on the Public Consultation website.

Detailed information on the Proposed Emission standard of pollutants for electrical industry is accessible online in Chinese from the website of the Ministry of Environmental Protection.