China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environmental issued the “Implementation Method of Groundwater Contamination Prevention and Cleanup” on March 28, 2019
Date:2019-04-04Pv: 909

Key highlights of this new national groundwater guideline is as follows:

   · Soil and land contamination will be controlled and managed simultaneously with the groundwater contamination in order to prevent secondary contamination;

   · The entity which causes the contamination, will be held responsibility to cleanup; and,

   · The entity which causes the damage of soil and groundwater quality, will be held responsibility to compensate. 

For multinational enterprises with factories in China, or suppliers, this guideline further clarifies that legal liability for groundwater contamination will be enforced in China going forward.

In the Implementation Method, there are 4 attachments: 

1. Technical requirements of groundwater contamination grade and area classification. In this attachment, a groundwater area is classified as a protection area, preventative area, treatment area according to the baseline investigation result, usage of the groundwater, contamination capacity, and fragile level.  The Classification also includes the remediation strategy 

2. Gas station leakage prevention and upgrade inspection.  The scope is:  renovated gas stations, gas stations established more than 15 years, and gas stations with sensitive drinking water source in the vicinity of the gas station. It is required to verify the underground storage tank is double-lined and equipped with leak proof installation.

3. Technical requirement to publish details of contaminated groundwater and land: The lands will be disclosed to the public if: groundwater contamination has resulted from chemical production, industrial zone, mining area, waste mine storage, hazardous wastes disposal, or landfill activities.  This information will be disclosed to the public by government and related institute. 

4. Implementation guideline of Groundwater contamination prevention and cleanup:  Key milestones between now and 2035 are: 

    By 2020: Establish initial nationwide groundwater monitoring and sampling system, limit the percentage of the groundwater with worst quality to less than 15%, install monitoring of typical groundwater contamination sources.

    By 2025: Establish comprehensive nationwide groundwater monitoring and sampling systems, put effective control in place against the typical groundwater contamination sources, 85% of municipal drinking water sources’ quality are better than grade III.  [CH1] 

    By 2035: General groundwater quality improvement, and revive the ecological system