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Hong Kong Shuts 14 Beaches as Sewage Leaks From Treatment Plant

Hong Kong closed 14 beaches in the New Territories after a sewage treatment plant was forced to discharge 95,000 cubic meters of household waste, enough to fill 38 Olympic-sized swimming pools, into the sea.

The Pillar Point sewage plant at Tuen Mun reported a malfunction in its sieving devices, or waste-separation units, at 3:30 p.m. yesterday, the Drainage Services Department said. An investigation is under way, the department said

All 14 beaches in Tuen Mun and Tsuen Wan in northern western Hong Kong were closed last night, according to the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. The beaches will only reopen when tests show the water is safe, the government said, without giving a timeframe.

Repairs to the plant, operated by a venture between ATAL Engineering Ltd., Degremont SA and China State Construction Engineering (Hong Kong) Ltd., were completed at 2 a.m., the government said.

The discharge was mostly household waste, though industrial waste also leaked out, the Drainage Services Department said.

The last time beaches were closed in the city because of sewage leakage was in 1997, the South China Morning Post reported today.

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