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Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering

ISSN 2095-2201

ISSN 2095-221X(Online)

CN 10-1013/X

Postal Subscription Code 80-973

2018 Impact Factor: 3.883

Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.    2018, Vol. 12 Issue (1) : 16
An emerging market for groundwater remediation in China: Policies, statistics, and future outlook
Deyi Hou1(), Guanghe Li1, Paul Nathanail2
1. School of Environment, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
2. School of Geography, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK
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There is a rapidly emerging and potentially huge market for the remediation of contaminated groundwater in China. The Chinese government published a Water Action Plan in April 2015, a Soil Action Plan in May 2016, and a draft Soil Pollution Prevention and Control Law in June 2017. All of these new policies and regulations put pressures on local governments and contaminated site owners, obliging them to conduct site investigation and to cleanup contaminated groundwater. The Chinese population in northern regions heavily depend on groundwater, with nearly 70% of water supply coming from aquifer sources in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. However, poor groundwater quality due to natural geochemical background and anthropogeic pollution is a serious concern, with poor or very poor quality water observed in nearly 80% of groundwater monitoring wells in 17 northern provinces. Shallow groundwater in many areas has been contaminated by toxic pollutants such as heavy metals and chlorinated organic compounds. There is an urgent need to better understand the situation and to conduct groundwater remediation at contaminated sites. The Chinese government is investing heavily in the research and development for groundwater remediation, which is expected to greatly add to the quality and quantity of groundwater remediation projects in the near future.

Keywords Groundwater pollution      Contaminated land      Groundwater remediation      Emerging market     
Corresponding Authors: Deyi Hou   
Issue Date: 23 January 2018
 Cite this article:   
Deyi Hou,Guanghe Li,Paul Nathanail. An emerging market for groundwater remediation in China: Policies, statistics, and future outlook[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2018, 12(1): 16.
Fig.1  Groundwater quality monitoring results in 2014–2016 based on two national groundwater monitoring networks (Class I: low natural background; Class II: natural background; Class III: not exceeding human health standards; Class IV: suitable for agricultural and industrial usage, and may be used as drinking water after appropriate treatment; Class V: not suitable for drinking; it is also noted that the definition of the grades above is regarding single groundwater quality indicator, while the overall groundwater quality grade is based on a weighted averaging of single indicators)
Ordinance / Regulation Publisher Publish Year Description
WAP SC 2015 Revise the national groundwater quality standards; ensure the proportion of worst groundwater quality (Class VI) is less than 15% by 2020.
WAP SC 2015 Publish a list of priority sites with groundwater contamination in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region; conduct groundwater remediation demonstration.
SAP SC 2016 Conduct site investigation of industrial facilities (~100000 sites) by 2020, monitor groundwater quality.
SAP SC 2016 Complete demonstration remediation projects at 200 contaminated sites by 2020.
SAP SC 2016 Safely use 90% of contaminated land by 2020; safely use 95% of contaminated land by 2030.
WAP/SAP SC 2015/ 2016 Provide funding to support scientific research on groundwater remediation.
O-42 MEP 2016 Local governments should establish a list of “potentially contaminated sites,” and site owners shall conduct screening level investigation within 6 months to determine whether they are “contaminated sites,” for which detailed site investigation, risk assessment, risk management and/or remediation shall be conducted.
SPPCL NPC 2017 Local governments shall conduct investigation and remediation as necessary for groundwater pollution on agricultural land.
SPPCL NPC 2017 For key industry sectors, when land use is changed, site users shall conduct soil and groundwater investigation, determine the extent of groundwater contamination, and conduct groundwater remediation.
Tab.1  Key National Policies Mandating Groundwater Pollution Prevention and Remediation
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2 MEP, 2016 China's Environmental Conditions Report. 2017
3 People's Daily. “Soil Ten” propose to curb deteriorating soil pollution by 2020 (2016). 2016 (in Chinese)
4 HouD, Li F. Complexities Surrounding China’s Soil Action Plan.Land Degradation & Development, 2017, 28(7): 2315–2320
5 CSER. China's Soil Remediation Technology and Market Development Research Report 2016–2020. Beijing: CSER, 2016 (in Chinese)
6 USEPA. Superfund Remedy Report 15th Edition EPA-542-R-17–001. Washington DC.: USEPA, 2017
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[1] Maocong Hu, Yin Liu, Zhenhua Yao, Liping Ma, Xianqin Wang. Catalytic reduction for water treatment[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2018, 12(1): 3-.
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