[Archive] Environmental Concerns in the Chinese Industry in 1974

Source: Yanggang archives WD-255-44-5 [1974]

In July 1974, the Revolutionary Committee of the Yangquan Iron and Steel Factory submitted two reports to Shanxi Provincial Metallurgy Bureau, requests funding for building waste treatment facilities.

Translation by Qingyi Yin, Student Research Assistant in the Division of Arts and Humanities, Duke Kunshan University

“Report on the Application for Government Investment in the Disposal of Cyanide-Containing Wastewater and Sludge.”

To Provincial Bureau of Metallurgy, Copied to Provincial and Municipal Office of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Science and Technology; Planning Commission, Municipal Office of Industry and Transportation.

(1) High levels of cyanide in wastewater produced by blast furnance operation has polluted the lower reaches of the Tao River system.

(2) Previous achievements: Partial removal of cyanide from ferrous sulfate and other chemicals contained in wastewater.

(3) We plan to build more settling water pools, send sludge to brick factories as raw material for brick production.

(4) Our request is 120,000 Yuan in government funding for further removal of cyanide from wastewater.

Treatment scheme of cyanide-containing wastewater sludge produced by the blast furnaces at the Yangquan Iron and Steel Factory

1. Treatment process of cyanide-containing wastewater: Blast furnace gas —> (1)water (2) cyanide-containing wastewater (3) pure gas; Cyanide-containing wastewater —> the settling pool

2. Plans for Sludge Treatment: The sludge that is separated from the water in the settling pool will be added with coagulant and sent to the brick factory as raw material.We now discharge 1,500 tons less sewage than the 2,000 tons we used to. This is beneficial to the Yangquan area, which suffers from severe water shortage. We are confident that further sludge treatment will finally put an end to large-scale water use and pollution. Sludge will be used as raw material to make bricks, which can improve the quality of bricks. The brick factory will produce more than 3,000 bricks a day when the sludge is used as feedstock. The annual output value will be above 50,000 yuan.

3. Our request: 50000 Yuan to buy an electric crane, and 70000 Yuan to erect three more settling ponds

The internal recycling treatment of cyanide-containing water and sludge we have planned can solve the pollution of the water system. But as the concentration of cyanide in the circulating sewage increases, the toxic ingredients will volatilize into the air and endanger the health of workers. To mitigate this harm, we have begun experiments with the removal of cyanide by ferrous sulfate, with some results. We will continue to explore other effective methods of cyanide removal and apply them in production.

A report on applying for investment for expanding the comprehensive utilization of blast furnace slag -To the Provincial Bureau of Metallurgy

Previous achievements: Since 1970, we have gradually built a slag recovery workshop with an annual output of 7 million bricks. This workshop not only meets the needs of our factory but also provides a large number of bricks for the construction of Yangquan City.

Limitations: We can recycle only a third of the total slag, the rest is thrown away, polluting the land and rivers. While the demand for bricks is still high in Shaanxi province. Therefore, we decided to increase the intensity of slag utilization. For this, we need 150,000 Yuan to expand the existing workshop and 370,000 Yuan to build new ones.

We proposed a plan in 1974 but did not receive an approval. So we are applying again in 1975. The whole plan will last for two years. In the year of 1975 the investment plan is 350,000 Yuan.

Development Plan for Comprehensive Utilization of Blast Furnace Slag at the Yangquan Iron and Steel Factory

Our factory has three blast furnaces, 100 cubic meters each. One blast furnace smelts ferromanganese. Two blast furnaces smelt pig iron. Ferromanganese slag is produced at 240 tons per day and pig iron slag at 260 tons per day. At present, there are two 10-hole brick presses in the slag workshop. They are all decaying Japanese machinery dating back to the 1930s. They produce 20, 000 bricks a day and a small number of panels and sleepers each summer. 100 tons of water slag and 50 tons of external water slag are consumed every day.

It is planned to build three slag ponds and expand the production workshop to three.

The Slag Brick Workshop (The planned investment is 150,000 yuan): The production scale is 80,000 bricks per day, with an annual output of 28 million bricks. The existing brick press is old, and the power of the wheel mill is small. Therefore, they all need to be updated, and the factory also needs to be equipped with kiln machinery.

Sodium silicate slag cement workshop: the total investment is 200,000 yuan. Factory area of 1200 square meters. Production scale: 50-80 tons per day, 150-24,000 tons per year.

Wet grinding slag products and concrete products workshop: 170,000 yuan investment. It covers an area of 1160 square meters. Production scale: 30-50 tons per day, 10-18,000 tons per year. Products include panels, sleepers, hollow panels, corrugated tiles.

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