Pulling a Fast One on Fast Food
Food safety scandal involving Shanghai Husi Food invokes calls for stronger oversight
Current Issue
· Table of Contents
· Editor's Desk
· Previous Issues
· Subscribe to Mag
Subscribe Now >>
Expert's View
Market Watch
North American Report
Government Documents
Expat's Eye
Photo Gallery
Reader's Service
Learning with
'Beijing Review'
E-mail us
RSS Feeds
PDF Edition
Reader's Letters
Make Beijing Review your homepage
Top Story
Top Story
UPDATED: August 10, 2014 NO. 51 DECEMBER 19, 2013
Underground Pipeline Peril
China's underground pipeline network requires more efficient management and supervision
By Yin Pumin

Ma Xuesong, an associate professor in administration studies at Jilin University, added that in many places, urban planning lacks public input and planning cannot be consistently implemented for different reasons, including the transfer of relevant officials to other cities.

"The responsibilities of urban planning should be clarified and the role of public monitoring should be strengthened to improve the situation," Ma said.

Guo Jinsong expressed his concerns over the service lifespan of China's pipelines. According to him, some pipelines have been used for 20 to 30 years and lack proper maintenance.

Deng said that oil pipelines can usually serve for around 30 years and even up to 50 years if well maintained, pointing out the importance of preventing rust and corrosion combined with regular performance checks on the pipelines.

Official data indicate the pipeline in Qingdao that ruptured had been in use since 1986.

Management needs

China currently lacks comprehensive data on underground pipelines in urban areas, which is a major cause of the loose management of pipeline networks, said Jiang Yifang, Deputy Director of the Underground Pipeline Committee of the China Association of City Planning.

According to Jiang, there are two broad categories of underground pipelines in China. The first is long-distance pipelines, which mainly transfer energy, information and resources between provinces and cities; the second type consists of urban underground pipelines that transport resources, energy and information as well as drainage functions.

"Due to historical and systematic reasons, Chinese cities seldom have precise information about their own underground pipelines," Jiang said.

Following the embarrassing situation, China's construction authorities have demanded the strengthening of urban underground pipeline management, requiring local governments to make investigations into urban underground pipelines.

"Information on underground pipelines in urban areas can provide the necessary support for urban planning and construction, and help guide the management and maintenance of underground pipeline networks," Jiang said.

However, according to Jiang's investigation in 2012, there were only 253 cities in China that had ever undertaken investigations to their underground pipelines between 2000 and 2011. "Even today, having no precise information about underground pipelines is common in many Chinese cities," he said.

According to the Code of Archives Management of Urban Underground Pipelines issued in 2004, local construction archive management departments should establish information systems for underground pipelines and update that information regularly.

"However, the reality is that there are only a few cities that have their own construction archive management departments, not to mention the even fewer making thorough investigations," Jiang said, adding that without precise information it's impossible for local governments to conduct effective management of their underground pipelines.

Another factor hindering the effective management of urban underground pipelines is that there is not a uniform department to supervise and coordinate the management of those pipelines, according to Jiang.

"Different pipelines are managed by different departments or companies and they lack coordination between them, so it is difficult to deal with loopholes even if everyone is aware of them," Jiang said.

According to media reports, in the buildup and aftermath of the November 22 explosion in Qingdao, it was insufficient exchange of information that led to workers failing to report in time.

Jiang suggested establishing a special body to coordinate the management of underground pipelines.

Besides different management bodies, various investment subjects are also a cause to lack of unified planning for urban underground pipelines. According to Jiang, some state-owned enterprises make investment according to their own plans, refusing to coordinate with other local departments, which always leads to messy building of underground pipelines.

"As a result, there are often some abandoned underground pipelines left by enterprises without being properly dealt with, which will become potential dangers to local residents," Jiang said.

Furthermore, some state-owned enterprises often refuse to hand the data about their pipelines to local governments due to confidentiality considerations. "This will make it hard for local governments to do effective management to those abandoned underground pipelines," said Dai with Tongji University.

Email us at: yinpumin@bjreview.com

   Previous   1   2  

Top Story
-China Quake Toll Rises to 615
-Relief Goods Pour into Yunnan Quake Zone
-Who's Learning From Whom?
-Special Coverage: Chinese-style Parenting
-Local Governments Out of Pocket?
Most Popular
About BEIJINGREVIEW | About beijingreview.com | Rss Feeds | Contact us | Advertising | Subscribe & Service | Make Beijing Review your homepage
Copyright Beijing Review All right reserved