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Last edited 08 Feb 2021
The 20-year project that dazzled at the ICE Awards
|This huge environmental infrastructure project, which won the Edmund Hambly Medal at the ICE Awards in 2018, was decades in the making, but will deliver benefits to the local community for years to come. Pictured: Hong Kong harbour.|
In early March 2018, with support from the Development Bureau of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Drainage Services Department participated in the 2018 Edmund Hambly Medal organised by ICE. It submitted its largest-ever environmental infrastructure project, the Hong Kong Harbour Area Treatment Scheme (HATS). This international award is a prestigious recognition of a project for its promotion and contribution of sustainable development to civil engineering.
Having known that HATS was going to run for the award, members of the HATS project team were overwhelmed with excitement. They were both thrilled and filled with apprehension about competing alongside other world-class mega projects.
HATS is the largest environmental infrastructure project ever undertaken in Hong Kong. The whole project was delivered in two stages spanning more than 20 years. A variety of sustainability elements had been incorporated in the project, all of which were essential features satisfying the criteria of the Edmund Hambly Medal award.
While the submission requirements looked simple – a citation of about 500 words depicting the highlights of sustainable development and efficacy of the project – precisely covering the complexity of this mega project in a short article was a challenge.
 'Our first international ICE competition'
It was the first time HKSAR Drainage Services Department had participated in an international award competition under the ICE. During preparation, the Department repeatedly examined the significance of each design or construction element relevant to the award.
In addition to satisfying the technical requirements of sewage treatment, the project team aimed at delivering the HATS project with state-of-the-art technologies and innovation. These included using inverted siphons in sewage conveyance to reduce the energy consumption of pumping sewage, and using a diesel-electricity engine and on-shore electricity supply to reduce carbon emissions when sludge transportation vessels were berthed. Sludge was also incinerated to achieve conversion of waste to energy.
 Global recognition
Gaining recognition from the ICE, an internationally-renowned professional institution, the project finally won the Edmund Hambly Medal, and the project team was greatly honoured to join the awards ceremony in October 2018 to receive the award in the ICE’s elegant and beautifully decorated Grand Hall.
The team was pleased to see a panoramic view of the Stonecutters Island Sewage Treatment Works (the foremost iconic construction of HATS) was used as the backdrop for the ceremony – further affirming the recognition of the project.
 Major, long-lasting achievements
Having overcome numerous difficulties and challenges, the HATS project was eventually completed after decades of hard work. The project not only significantly reduces the pollution level in the Victoria Harbour, but the beaches at the western part of Hong Kong could also be re-opened for public use.
In 2017, the cross-harbour swimming race, which had been suspended for 40 years due to water pollution, resumed in the central waters of Victoria Harbour, enabling the people of Hong Kong to relive their memories.
Today, while people are enjoying the fragrant ambience of Victoria Harbour, tribute should be paid to former fellow engineers who worked on HATS. Their respectful foresight and perseverance in promoting and delivering this landmark project has substantially improved the water quality of the much-loved harbour for the enjoyment of the public.
 About this article
This article was written by the ice.org.uk Drainage Services Department, Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). It appeared on the website of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and can be accessed here.
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