Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong fined $2,600 for pumping grease-filled waste water into city's sewers

PHOTO: Handout

A luxury hotel boasting two Michelin-starred restaurants was fined on Thursday for discharging oily, greasy waste water into public sewers.

The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, inside the International Commerce Centre (ICC) in western Kowloon, broke the conditions of its waste water discharge licence, Kwun Tong Court ruled. Its operating company, Best Winners, was slapped with the HK$15,000 (S$2,596) penalty.

An Environmental Protection Department spokesman stressed that all licensees should arrange regular cleaning and maintenance of their grease traps and water treatment facilities.

"Discharge of substandard waste water into the sewers [could] lead to blockage of sewers downstream, or adversely affect the normal operation of the government's sewage treatment plants," the spokesman added.

A routine inspection at the hotel last August found that waste water from the discharge outlet of one of its grease traps - plumbing devices that catch grease and waste particles before water passes into the system - was "turbid and greasy".

Analysis of water samples later revealed concentrations of oil and grease 3.8 times the upper limit of the hotel's waste water discharge licence, according to the department.

A malfunctioning grease trap was suspected to be the cause of the problem, and the hotel took measures to fix it, including installing a new treatment system and regularly cleaning the traps.

Kwun Tong Court hit Best Winners with the HK$15,000 fine. Photo: SCMP Pictures

Under waste pollution control laws, non-compliance can lead to a maximum fine of HK$200,000 and six months' imprisonment.

The 312-room hotel occupies the top 16 floors of the Sun Hung Kai-owned ICC, Hong Kong's tallest building. Best Winners is a principal subsidiary of Sun Hung Kai.

The Post has contacted Ritz-Carlton for comment.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.