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Circular on Strengthening the Collection of the Sewage Treatment Fee and Establishing a Sound Operational Mechanism for Urban Sewage Discharge and Centralized Treatment

(Issued by the State Development and Planning Commission, the Ministry of Construction, the State Environmental Protection Administration on September 6, 1999 )

In accordance with the Law on the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution, some cities are collecting the sewage treatment fee from users, including residents, and the fee is used for the construction and operation of sewage central treatment facilities. This is an important measure to reduce pollution and to protect the environment. However, the percentage of sewage that is centrally treated is low and the majority of cities are not collecting the sewage treatment fee; in cities that collect the sewage treatment fee, the rate of the fee is mostly too low to make up for the operation and maintenance cost of the sewage central treatment facilities; in the collection of the fee, the problem of default and evasion of payment is serious; management of the collected sewage treatment fee is not institutionalized, and withholding and misappropriation of the fee are very common. For the purposes of strengthening the collection of the sewage treatment fee, speeding up the central treatment of sewage and promoting the development of the environmental protection industry, hereby is promulgated the notice on several issues related to the collection of the sewage treatment fee in addition to and on the basis of the water rate.

1. To collect the sewage treatment fee in addition to and on the basis of the water rate and establish a sound operational mechanism of sewage discharge and central treatment.

The sewage treatment fee is an important component of the water rate. Cities shall, with consideration of the quantity of the water used by the users (including water taken from urban water supply enterprises, self-provide wells and rivers and lakes), collect the sewage treatment fee in addition to and on the basis of the water rate, so as to make up for the cost of urban water discharge and sewage treatment, and to establish a sound operational mechanism of sewage central treatment. The sewage treatment enterprises (units) shall be run in the fashion of enterprises, keep separate accounts, assume sole responsibility for its profits and losses, and pay taxes in accordance with the laws.

The sewage treatment fee shall be collected along with the water rate by urban water supply enterprises, and monthly appropriated to the sewage treatment enterprises (units) for the operation and maintenance of the urban sewage drainpipe network and sewage treatment plants. In cities where the sewage treatment plants have not been constructed, with approval of the local People's government, the sewage treatment fee can be used to make up for the investment in the construction of the sewage drainpipe network and the sewage treatment plants; however, the sewage treatment plants must be completed within three years and put into use.

2. Principles and authorities of deciding the rate of the Sewage Treatment fee

The rate of the sewage treatment fee shall be decided in accordance with the principle of making up for the operation and maintenance cost of the sewage drainpipe network and sewage treatment facilities and making moderate profits at the same time. The operation and maintenance cost mainly includes the cost of motive power, materials, transmission and discharge, maintenance, depreciation, wages and welfare, and taxation occurred in sewage discharge and central treatment.The rate of the sewage treatment fee shall be raised in stages according to the bearing capacity of local users. By 1999, in seriously polluted cities, such as those in the "three rivers" (Huai River, Hai River and Liaohe River) and the "three lakes" (Tai Lake, Chao Lake and Dianchi Lake) river basins, the rate of the fee shall meet the operation and maintenance cost of the sewage drainpipe network and sewage central treatment facilities.

The specific rate of the sewage treatment fee shall be decided in accordance with the administrative authority of the urban water supply rate.

3. To establish and perfect the supervisory mechanism of the collection and management of the sewage treatment fee and the operation of sewage treatment plants

It is necessary to strengthen the collection and management of the sewage treatment fee, increase the rate of collection, avoid dodging and evasion, and endeavor towards the goal of maximum acquisition of the sum. No departments or units are allowed to derate the fee without approval. For enterprises that suffer serious deficits, upon approval by the local People's government, payment of the sewage treatment fee can be deferred, but shall not be exempted.

Urban sewage treatment plants shall, on the principle of consistency of responsibility with authority, guarantee its normal operation and quality of operation, and discharge in accordance with the standards. The competent departments of construction administrations at all levels shall strengthen the supervision and inspection of the operation of the sewage treatment enterprises (units) and, for those that stop operation or fail to operate at a full load without approval, order them to put right the wrong actions, and investigate into the liability of the legal person. The environmental protection departments shall strengthen the monitoring of the quality of the water treated by the urban sewage treatment enterprises (units), and on the occasion of finding the water quality failing the standards, in addition to collecting the over-discharging fee, order the enterprises (units) to rectify it until it meets the standards.

4. To accomplish every aspects of work in the collection of the sewage treatment fee

It is necessary to conduct an overall examination of the fees collected for drainage. Upon collection of the sewage treatment fee, the construction fee, operational fee, system expansion fee, construction funds and other charges that violates laws and regulations shall be cancelled. Upon collection of the sewage treatment fee, pursuant to the Law on the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution, the environmental protection departments should no longer collect the sewage discharge fee from units that discharge sewage into the urban sewage drainpipe network and the sewage central treatment facilities. At the same time, the fee for using the urban drainage facilities collected by the construction departments shall be cancelled. The local price, construction and other departments shall cooperate in their effort of strengthening the collection and management of the sewage treatment fee and promote the development of urban sewage treatment.

(This English version is for your reference only.In case any discrepancy exists between the Chinese and English context, the Chinese version shall prevail.)

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