China’s oldest hydropower station, Shilongba Power Plant, is being threatened by water pollution. The station has been forced to halt its operation several times.
The plant is located in the western suburbs of Kunming, in southwest China’s Yunnan province. It was built in 1908 using German technology and equipment. The plant draws freshwater from Dianchi Lake to generate power.
Tian Jinghua told China View, the plant had had to cease operating several times in recent years due to water pollution. Chemical plants in the upper part of the Tanglanchuan River have been discharging acidic effluents into the lake.
In November 2003, the acidic water affected the power plant, causing an economic loss of about 19 million yuan (2.4 million U.S. dollars).
The most recent incident happened in the middle of October, when acidic water forced the plant to stop generating power for 15 hours.
Research by local environmental authorities discovered that two of the three chemical plants on the upper end of the Tanglangchuan River were covertly discharging toxic waste water. The plants were ordered to stop operating and fined 50,000 to 60,000 yuan. The polluters also agreed to pay 20,000 yuan to the power plant to compensate some of the economic losses.