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Sinopec, China. Improving wastewater treatment for Asia’s largest oil refiner

The Beijing region has high water stress coupled with enormous demand for water for industrial and human uses. So in 2015 the Chinese government launched a massive program to protect water resources and the aquatic ecosystem across the region. The plan imposed stringent wastewater treatment standards on industrial users.
This is why Sinopec, China and Asia’s largest refiner, contracted with Veolia in 2016 for the management of the complete water cycle at its Yanshan petrochemical complex located just 50 km from downtown Beijing.

To guarantee water quality and ensure that local water resources were protected, in 2017 it was decided to restore a wetland that acts as a buffer zone between the wastewater outlet and the Niukouyu reservoir, its final destination.

Some 8 hectares of wetland, comprising ponds, dry and wet grasslands and groves of weeping willow, were restored and restructured to create a succession of 23 terraces, designed to optimize water flows and phytoremediation and enhance biodiversity. Treated wastewater is pumped into the wetland at a rate of 1,600 cubic meters per hour.

The Niukouyu wetlands park is open to the public. Information panels explain the advantages of wetlands and introduce the local flora and fauna. A one-hectare leisure zone was also created for families.

The following objectives were achieved:

  • water quality is guaranteed by the phytoremediation role provided by the wetland
  • local biodiversity has improved thanks to the wetland zone. Over 50 different species of bird have been spotted, including several very rare species
  • the wetland provides a leisure area for locals and a tool to help educate visitors.