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Shenyang Promises to Clean up Derelict Industrial Site
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Authorities in Shenyang, capital of Liaoning Province, are to invest millions of yuan in the cleaning of a notoriously dirty factory, a project which they hope will set a new standard for redevelopment of brownfield sites.


Shenyang Smelting Factory (SSF) was built in 1936, and grew into one of the largest factories in the region.


It became one of the biggest polluters in the city forcing the central government to shut it down in 1999, the first time a large-scale State-owned enterprise was closed down due to environmental concerns.


With the massive site lying derelict, local authorities are planning to hand it over to developers, but first they must tackle the problems of badly polluted soil and contaminated underground water.


"We expect this land will be available for redevelopment after our work," Suo Lizhen, director of the ecology department of Shenyang Environmental Protection Bureau, told China Daily.


In the first one and a half months of the project, polluted soil will be dug up and moved to a toxic waste treatment site. Severely polluted soil will be securely buried, while the rest will be treated and cleaned.


As for the underground water, workers will drill a well inside the plant and pump contaminated water up for further treatment.


Source close to the government disclosed that the whole project's budget is around 50 million yuan (US$6.25 million). The local government will contribute 26 million yuan (US$3.25 million), with the rest coming from the developer.


Shenyang, an industrial hub that has suffered from the decline of the country's State-owned enterprises, is at the forefront of efforts to regenerate brownfield sites.


However, due to a lack of regulations neither local governments nor property developers have to carry out environmental assessment or cleaning before construction.


"This is about mechanism. We can do nothing without local government investment," said Suo. She admitted that SSF remained untouched for years after its closure.


"Our efforts to clean up the plant have a more important meaning. We can provide experience for other cities to deal with this problem, for example the redevelopment of Shougang Group's plant in Beijing," she added.


(China Daily July 11, 2006)

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