• An aerial photomontage of Shek Wu Hui Effluent Polishing Plant (SWHEPP) after full upgrade

  • Architect’s impression of the viewing point along the riverside walkway

  • Aerial photomontage of buildings in SWHEPP with the mountain silhouette façade design to blend in with surroundings

  • Green roof installed on Membrane Facilities Buildings to increase greening percentage in SWHEPP (Aerial rendered drawing)

  • Public co-use areas in SWHEPP - Ecology Garden (front) , Communal Gardening Area (left), birdwatching point (back) (Aerial rendered drawing)

Neighbourhood V1.0

Overall Score
Community Aspects
Site Aspects
Materials and Waste Aspects
Energy Aspects
Water Aspects
Outdoor Enviro. Quality
Credit(s)    Innovations and Additions

Guided by its vision to provide world-class wastewater treatment and stormwater drainage services enabling the sustainable development of Hong Kong, the Drainage Services Department is upgrading Shek Wu Hui Sewage Treatment Works (SWHSTW) to become the largest tertiary sewage treatment works in Hong Kong.  The conventionally function-driven plant will install state-of-the-art treatment technologies to double its treatment capacity while producing high quality effluent for discharge and reuse.  Innovative treatment systems, namely Hong Kong’s first thermal hydrolysis process unit, will be installed to improve biogas yield for electricity and reduce the plant’s reliance on conventional fuels.  Together with new community co-use provisions, such as the ecology garden and riverside walkway, SWHSTW will be rebranded as Shek Wu Hui Effluent Polishing Plant and an “Environmental Campus”, turning a traditionally “NIMBY” facility into an integral asset of the local neighbourhood.

Green Features

Community Aspects

  • Extensive community engagement on Shek Wu Hui Effluent Polishing Plant (SWHEPP)’s design and development, particularly on public co-use amenities
  • Reinforce placemaking and local character of Sheung Shui rural countryside in SWHEPP’s architectural and landscape design
  • SWHEPP is an Environmental Campus that fosters the “CORE” concept of Community Resource - a learning hub to promote sustainable lifestyle by reducing waste generation, and energy and water consumption

Site Aspects

  • SWHEPP provides over 15% of total site area as publicly accessible open space, green space and blue assets
  • SWHEPP adopts pedestrian-oriented transport planning and provides high quality open space to attract visitors
  • New landscaped areas to enhance ecological value of the SWHEPP, particularly the new Ecology Garden next to the Administration Building

Materials and Waste Aspects

  • Over 40% of all estimated cut and fill materials will be reused on site
  • Integrated Waste Management Plan will be put in place in SWHEPP to promote the reduction, reuse and recycling of waste
  • Waste processing facilities will be provided on site (e.g. yard waste composters)

Energy Aspects

  • Site layout of SWHEPP was optimized to reduce solar irradiance of all facades and enhance wind environment in the pedestrian area
  • SWHEPP will employ a district energy system (combined heat and power unit, or CHP unit) to generate electricity and heat to be utilized within the project site
  • SWHEPP will employ a shared renewable energy system consisting of CHP and PV panels to supply over 13% of the annual estimate energy demand within the project site

Water Aspects

  • Over 50% of hard landscaped areas will be paved with pervious materials
  • Stormwater will be attenuated through temporary storage in the sublayers of porous pavement panels
  • A portion of the treated sewage effluent from SWHEPP will be recycled into reclaimed water for non-potable use (e.g. toilet flushing)

Outdoor Environmental Quality

  • Open spaces in SWHEPP maintained buffer distance to nearby air pollution sources (e.g. roads, chimneys)
  • Disposition of buildings designed to mitigate urban heat island effect
  • Good visual quality of recreational open spaces within the project site


Shek Wu Hui Sewage Treatment Works, originally built in the 1980s, has been serving the Fanling and Sheung Shui areas for over 30 years, during which time it has witnessed the rapid development of both towns, from quiet rural villages to the major population hubs that they are today.  The plant will embark on its third upgrade to double its capacity from 93,000 m3/day to 190,000 m3/day.  After completion, it will be the largest tertiary sewage treatment works in Hong Kong, meeting future development needs while also increasing effluent quality to meet rising discharge standards.

From a traditionally unwanted facility into an Environmental Campus

The Drainage Services Department (DSD) takes this opportunity to transform the conventionally function-driven plant into a green eco-campus, introducing various sustainable design features and provisions for community integration.  The plant adopts the theme “Environmental Campus linking with Community”, incorporating educational routes that guide visitors through a “journey of water” tour.  General public can also learn about sustainable living concepts by visiting the exhibits displayed in the public open spaces on site, such as the green roofs, ecology garden and riverside walkway.  We are confident that these provisions will turn a traditionally unwanted facility into an integral asset in the local environment.

Community Integration

Public participation in planning and developing the design of Shek Wu Hui Effluent Polishing Plant (SWHEPP) was instrumental in garnering support for the project.  During the initial stages of public engagement, villagers and other key stakeholders were reluctant to support the project, citing concerns relating to odour and other negative impacts that may worsen.  Understanding this, the project team spent great effort in reaching different stakeholders, collected their views and proposed new technologies to improve environmental quality.  Through open dialogues and collaborative design workshops, stakeholders were able to see the value of the project and the potential opportunity in creating a meaningful resource for their community.  As a result, the collaborative design process brought upon a sense of belonging and ownership to the stakeholders, fostered a constructive rapport with the project team, and eventually gained their support for the project.


To achieve Platinum rating, SWHEPP leveraged its advantage in locality, energy efficiency and water-sensitive provisions to earn credits in their respective categories.  Situated in Sheung Shui countryside surrounded by three rivers, SWHEPP was very accessible to green space and blue assets.  Together with sensibly planned spaces based on local standards and guidelines, SWHEPP provided high quality recreational spaces for both the public and plant operators. 

Harvesting the “green” biogas from anaerobic digestion of sewage sludge enabled a significant amount of renewable energy to be supplied to the SWHEPP.  Site disposition and architectural shading devices also helped mitigate solar heat gain to the buildings.  Finally, water-sensitive features, such as pervious pavement and reclaimed water production, helped secure the crucial overall scores to reach Platinum range.

Project Details

Completion Year 2034
Internal Floor Area (IFA) (sqm) 45,000 (approx.)
Type Others

Project Team

Project Developer / Owner Drainage Services Department, HKSAR Government
Project Manager AECOM Asia Company Limited
Architect AECOM Asia Company Limited
Landscape Architect AECOM Asia Company Limited
M&E Engineer AECOM Asia Company Limited
C&S Engineer AECOM Asia Company Limited
Main Contractor Main Works Stage 1
Bestwise Envirotech Limited
Kwan Lee - Chun Wo Joint Venture
The Jardine Engineering Corporation, Limited
Main Works Stages 2 and 3
Quantity Surveyor AECOM Asia Company Limited
Sustainable Design Consultant AECOM Asia Company Limited
Environmental Consultant AECOM Asia Company Limited
Facility Manager Drainage Services Department, HKSAR Government
Geotechnical Engineer AECOM Asia Company Limited
BS Engineer AECOM Asia Company Limited
Traffic Engineer AECOM Asia Company Limited
Ecologist AECOM Asia Company Limited
AVA Consultant AECOM Asia Company Limited


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