Treating Hong Kong’s wastewater

2012-05-22 - ABB has won a plant automation contract for the Stonecutters Island Sewage Treatment Works in Hong Kong, one of the largest wastewater treatment plants in the world. When work is completed in 2014 the plant will serve five million people in Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, and treat up to 2.45 million cubic meters of wastewater a day.

By ABB Communications

Hong Kong Harbour and Hong Kong Island.

Located on Stonecutters Island in Victoria Harbour, the plant is part of a major and ongoing Hong Kong government initiative to improve water quality in Victoria Harbour by collecting and treating all the wastewater produced in the urban areas of Kowloon and Hong Kong Island.

Known as the Harbour Area Treatment Scheme (HATS), the initiative consists of two stages. Stage 1 - which was completed in 2001 - comprises a 23.6 km tunnel conveyance system that transfers sewage from Kowloon and the northeastern part of Hong Kong Island to the sewage treatment works on nearby Stonecutters Island.

Stage 2A, which is currently under construction, will consist of an additional 21 km of tunnels that will convey sewage from the northern and southwestern parts of Hong Kong Island to the Stonecutters Island Sewage Treatment Works. The works will be expanded to provide centralized chemical treatment of all sewage from the whole of the HATS catchment area. A third and final phase – Stage 2B – which is currently under review, will consist of new biological treatment facilities.

When completed in 2014 the entire HATS project will serve around five million people on the whole of Hong Kong Island and much of Kowloon. This will make the Stonecutters Island Sewage Treatment Works one of the largest wastewater treatment plants in the world. It will treat up to 2.45 million cubic meters of wastewater a day, an increase of almost 50 percent on its current capacity of 1.7 million cubic meters.

Overview of HATS 2A. The sewage will be conveyed from Hong Kong Island via deep tunnels (yellow broken lines) to the sewage works on Stonecutters Island. The purpose of HATS is to improve the quality of the water and re-establish a healthy marine environment in Victoria Harbour.


ABB has been selected by the main pumping station contractor for HATS 2A, Sun Fook Kong - Biwater joint venture, to provide a total plant automation solution for the huge Stonecutters Island Sewage Treatment Works.

The solution will control about 43,000 I/Os and consist of two parts: an upgrade to Symphony Plus of the existing ABB distributed control system (DCS), which ABB delivered in 2001 for the HATS 1 stage of the project; and a new Symphony Plus DCS for the sewage works expansion and a new main pumping station (HATS 2A).

Symphony Plus is the latest generation of ABB’s Symphony family of distributed control systems, the world’s most widely used control system in the power generation and water industries.

Zero impact on plant operations
One of the most impressive features of the solution is that ABB will execute the HATS 1 upgrade online, during normal plant operations and without requiring unscheduled shutdowns. Cabinets, work stations and other hardware will be installed during the plant’s planned outages over a two-year period.

A second major feature of the solution is that it will provide the end user with an integrated plant automation system for the entire sewage works. Operators will be able to control the older and newer parts of the plant from either of the two Symphony Plus systems.

ABB will complete the Symphony Plus upgrade for HATS 1 in late 2013, and the Symphony Plus project for HATS 2A towards the end of 2014.

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    Hong Kong Island in the foreground and Kowloon in the background, separated by Hong Kong Harbour.

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