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Eco-friendly sewage plant a refreshing change for Yangtze River city

Xinhua, July 19, 2023 Adjust font size:

People walk in Shuangxi Park in the city of Jiujiang, east China's Jiangxi Province, June 15, 2023. (Xinhua/Wan Xiang)

At the mention of sewage treatment plants, many people automatically think of noise, odor and sludge. However, a new ecological sewage facility in east China's Jiangxi Province represents a refreshing change from the norm.

The 2.2-hectare Lianghe sewage treatment plant is situated in the city of Jiujiang, Jiangxi Province. It is located in the downtown area, hidden beneath Shuangxi Park, a leisure park with flowing water, bridges and abundant greenery.

Duan Shuanglin, secretary of the Jiujiang water environment governance project of China Railway No. 4 Engineering Group Co., Ltd., explained that sewage treatment plants are normally built in the suburbs so as not to disturb residents. However, the plant in Jiujiang gets around this problem by being located below ground.

"It is all buried underground and uses the most advanced equipment, so the noise of sewage treatment is very low, and there is no odor," said Duan, adding that the park above ground is a beautiful scenic spot in which residents can take a leisurely walk.

Jiujiang lies at the junction of Poyang Lake, China's largest freshwater lake, and the Yangtze River, the longest river in the country. The city, which contains two-thirds of the lake's surface area and a 152-km length of the Yangtze riverbank, has exerted significant efforts to protect the aquatic environment.

To support the high-quality development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt, in 2018, Jiujiang inked the cooperation framework agreement on water environmental governance with China Three Gorges Corporation. The sewage treatment plant and the ecological park above it were a single sub-project within the broader agreement.

Construction started in 2019, and the plant and the park were put into operation in 2021. The whole project is the first of its kind in Jiangxi.

According to Duan, the plant has a designed water treatment capacity of 30,000 cubic meters a day, serving a population of approximately 140,000.

Wang Wenxing, director of the plant, said that a portion of reclaimed water will be discharged into the city's two main rivers, Shili River and Lianxi River, while another portion will be used to replenish the landscape water in the park.

"I stroll in Shuangxi Park every night with my family, and at first I didn't even know there was a sewage treatment plant underground," said Wang Qianyun, who has resided nearby for 10 years.

Wang Qianyun recalled that, previously, the sewage would be directly discharged into the rivers, which caused a vast quantity of sludge and odor. With this sewage treatment plant, the water has become clear and flocks of migratory birds visit the area.

"The contrast is stark," the resident added.

Inside the park, there is also a science popularization and exhibition hall that narrates the close ties between Jiujiang and water. Visitors can learn about the comprehensive governance process of the city's aquatic environment.

"The hall is expected to help citizens understand the importance of the ecological environment and raise their ecological and environmental awareness," said Duan. 

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