Legislative Council Panel on Economic Services

Transitional Arrangements for
the Opening of Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse


This paper informs Members of the transitional arrangements before and after the opening of the Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse (SSSH), including the phased commissioning and decommissioning programme and the contingency plans.


2. In July 1995 and July 1996, the Finance Committee of the then Legislative Council approved the SSSH project to replace the Kennedy Town Abattoir (KTA), the Cheung Sha Wan Abattoir (CSWA) and the Yuen Long Slaughterhouse (YLSH) at a total cost of $1,925 million in money-of-the-day prices. The Regional Services Department (RSD) is the client department for the project.

3. Construction of SSSH commenced in February 1997. According to the Architectural Services Department's (Arch SD's) latest estimate, it is scheduled for completion by 31 July 1999. Assuming this target completion date is met, and allowing time for handover and moving in, SSSH is scheduled for commissioning in late August 1999.

4. The management and operation of SSSH will be undertaken by a private contractor under a service agreement with the Administration. The agreement has been awarded to the Ng Fung Hong Limited (NFH) by RSD in December 1997 through an open tender. It is for a period of four years and priority will be given to NFH to renew for two more terms (three years for each term), subject to mutual agreement. perusal

Transitional Arrangements before Opening of Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse

Preparatory work by Architectural Services Department

5. As the works agent and vote controller for the construction of SSSH, Arch SD is responsible for supervising the construction work of the building contractor, the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC). Arch SD has advised that the project is progressing satisfactorily. As at 21 January 1999, 78% of the construction work has been completed.

6. To ensure successful commissioning of the slaughterhouse and proper functioning of the facilities, adequate testing of the equipment and installation is essential. The building contractor is required to carry out and complete to the satisfaction of Arch SD, tests for the building services, electrical and mechanical services and environmental engineering installations according to the requirements specified in the building contract. Site tests and simulated performance tests will also be carried out on all moving and rotating parts of respective building services, electrical and mechanical services and environmental engineering installations. The above tests will commence in April 1999 and will continue throughout the run up to commissioning of SSSH scheduled for August 1999.

7. At a later stage of the testing programme, sufficient livestock will be slaughtered in batches up to a rate deemed acceptable by Arch SD to demonstrate the satisfactory operation of all system and services as required in the building contract. These product tests will be conducted under normal hygiene provisions. Health Inspectors will inspect the slaughtered livestock to ensure that they are up to acceptable hygiene standards.

8. Apart from the testing of equipment, two months prior to commissioning, the building contractor will organise a one-month training programme including full time classroom training and practical training for NFH's 190 staff. On completion of the training programme, NFH's staff should be able to undertake the operation of the slaughterhouse properly. Inspectorate staff of RSD and staff of other relevant Departments, e.g. the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) and the Agriculture and Fisheries Department (AFD), will also be invited to attend the training in order to understand fully the safety procedures, operation and maintenance procedures of the slaughterhouse.

Preparatory work by Ng Fung Hong

9. The preparatory work to be carried out by NFH for commissioning of SSSH has been stipulated in the service agreement signed between it and RSD. RSD is closely monitoring the operational readiness of NFH in all aspects of their preparatory work, and will liaise with parties concerned to resolve any problems identified. It has advised that progress of preparatory work by NFH has so far been satisfactory.

Preparatory work by Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation

10. The Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) is responsible for undertaking the design and construction of the railway tracks inside SSSH for transporting livestock to SSSH. Construction of railway tracks has been completed. Operational test runs of the tracks will be conducted jointly by KCRC and Arch SD with participation of NFH and AFD, and is planned to be completed one month prior to the commissioning of SSSH.

Co-ordination and monitoring

11. A Task Force has been set up under the chairmanship of the Director of Regional Services, with representatives from the senior management of all parties concerned, to co-ordinate and monitor the work required for the smooth commissioning of SSSH. Specifically, the scope of work of the Task Force includes -

  1. To monitor and review the construction progress of SSSH;

  2. To oversee the decommissioning of the existing Kennedy Town Abattoir (KTA), Cheung Sha Wan Abattoir (CSWA) and Yuen Long Slaughterhouse (YLSH);

  3. To identify and resolve problems related to the commissioning and future operation of SSSH;

  4. To monitor preparatory work undertaken by parties concerned for the commissioning of SSSH; and

  5. To review the progress on appropriate operational plans for the commissioning of SSSH and to ensure necessary contingency arrangements in the event of breakdown of SSSH during the commissioning phases.

The Task Force will assume the overall responsibility for ensuring that all parties concerned are ready for the smooth commissioning of SSSH.

Transitional Arrangements after Opening of Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse

Phased Commissioning Programme of Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse

12. The commissioning programme of SSSH comprises four phases. Each phase is expected to last a minimum of 42 days. But it could be longer than 42 days, say up to an extra 90 days for remedial purposes in case of complete shutdown of SSSH. Based on Arch SD's latest estimate, SSSH is expected to commence the Phase I commissioning in late August 1999, subject to adjustment in the light of the works progress of the project.

13. The main objective of the phased commissioning programme is to allow a gradual build up of the slaughtering activities over a period of time, so that the design intent and performance requirements in relation to the slaughtering throughput, waste water treatment, environmental mitigation, building services, electronics and computer systems and all other electrical and mechanical systems can be commissioned or tested to their maximum design loads and to the satisfaction of the relevant authorities. Upon satisfactory completion of the phased commissioning programme, SSSH can assume normal operation to meet slaughtering demand.

Risk Assessment

14. As advised by Arch SD, the smooth functioning of SSSH will mainly depend on the operation of two independent waste water treatment process streams, each with a designed capacity of handling effluent arising from the slaughtering of 2,500 pigs and 200 cattle, in accordance with stipulated environmental standards.

15. The two waste water treatment streams will depend upon the action of bacteria and other micro-organisms to help treating the waste water to attain the standards required by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) and the Drainage Services Department (DSD) before discharge from SSSH to the Shek Wu Hui Sewage Treatment Works. In Phase I, micro-organisms will be transplanted from other sewage treatment works to seed the first waste water treatment stream. It will be necessary to build up the amount of effluent progressively, in order to establish a biological treatment process robust enough to support the full operational requirement at SSSH. As the micro-organisms will have to adapt to the difference in the characteristics of the waste water, the response of the micro-organisms in the first stream during this phase of commissioning can be extremely unstable. The waste water treatment may take longer than planned to achieve the required standards.

16. According to the professional assessment, the risk of malfunctioning of the waste water treatment facilities and the effluent discharged from SSSH falling short of the required standards is the highest during Phase I. The risk is estimated to be over 50% if the daily throughput of SSSH exceeds 1,300 pigs in the first 28 days of Phase I. The risk could be reduced to around 10% if the daily throughput is maintained at 1,300 pigs in the first 28 days and then raised to 1,800 pigs in the following 14 days (i.e. the 29th day - the 42nd day). The risk of complete shutdown of SSSH is expected to be very low (1% - 2%).

17. Upon the successful commissioning of Phase I, the risk level is expected to drop significantly. Arch SD estimates that the risk of the effluent discharged falling short of the required standards is 5% and 2% during Phase II and Phase III respectively, with the risk of complete shutdown of SSSH being less than 1% during these two phases. However, it should be noted that should complete shutdown occur, the process may need to be initiated again from Phase I depending on the cause of failure. The risk in Phase IV, which will basically involve fine-tuning the system, is expected to be minimal.

Phased Decommissioning Programme

18. To tie in with the four-phased commissioning programme and taking into account the above risk assessment, the Administration has worked out a phased programme for decommissioning KTA, CSWA and YLSH in order to ensure provision of a stable fresh meat supply during the commissioning of SSSH. The phased programme is as follows -

PhasesAbattoir to be decommissioned
IKennedy Town Abattoir (KTA)
IICheung Sha Wan Abattoir (CSWA)
IIIYuen Long Slaughterhouse (YLSH)
IVDecommissioning programme complete. Arch SD will carry out fine tuning and adjustment of the operation of the waste water treatment process at SSSH

19. The Administration considers that KTA should be closed first. It is because during Phase I, NFH will require the experienced and trained staff of KTA to manage SSSH, to operate the mechanical plants (including the waste water treatment plants) and to conduct slaughtering. It would be operationally difficult for NFH to manage and operate SSSH and KTA at the same time. Moreover, in the event of breakdown of SSSH during Phase I, CSWA (with the capacity to slaughter 2,500 pigs and 200 cattle) could readily take over part of the slaughtering work of SSSH to help to ensure an uninterrupted supply of fresh meat. Taking into account the interest of the Provisional Urban Council (PUC) in closing CSWA as early as possible, it would be closed upon Phase II commissioning of SSSH. YLSH will be the last abattoir to be closed.

Contingency Plans

20. In view of the risk of SSSH waste water treatment process breakdown during the first three phases, the Administration considers that KTA should be kept on standby as a contingency measure to minimise the possibility of disruption to fresh meat supply. The Administration has reached agreement with NFH which will be responsible for deploying a team of staff at KTA to maintain the facilities in working order so that KTA is ready to be reactivated for operation as and when the need arises. In view of the risk assessment as explained in paragraphs 16 and 17 above, KTA will be maintained as a backup facility during the first three phases of commissioning as follows -

PhasesStandby backup facilities
IKennedy Town Abattoir (KTA) and Cheung Sha Wan Abattoir (CSWA) in addition to the latter's normal throughput
IIKennedy Town Abattoir (KTA)
IIIKennedy Town Abattoir (KTA)
IVDecommissioning programme completed. No need for standby backup facilities

21. Details of the decommissioning programme and contingency plans during Phases I, II and III commissioning of SSSH are shown in the Annex.

Role of Cheung Sha Wan Abattoir

22. CSWA has a very important role to play during Phase I commissioning of SSSH and in the related contingency plan in order to minimise disruption to the fresh meat supply.

23. During Phase I of commissioning, KTA (with a daily throughput of 1,800 pigs and 50 cattle) will be closed. However, SSSH can only handle 1,300 pigs and 50 cattle during the first 28 days of Phase I. Therefore, the remaining 500 pigs will be diverted to CSWA for slaughtering in addition to its normal throughput of 1,400 pigs and 90 cattle. If SSSH operates smoothly during the first 28 days, then on the 29th day, these 500 pigs will be diverted to SSSH.

24. In respect of contingency plans, CSWA is required to stand ready to take up additional slaughtering capacity during the Phase I commissioning at short notice. In the event of plant shutdown at SSSH during Phase I, one production line at KTA will be activated to slaughter 1,200 pigs and 50 cattle daily, the remaining 600 pigs will be absorbed by CSWA.

25. Details of the arrangements for slaughtering by CSWA an extra 500 pigs during the first 28 days of Phase I commissioning and an extra 600 pigs under the contingency plan for Phase I commissioning have been worked out by USD and discussed with NFH. NFH has confirmed that USD's proposed arrangements for slaughtering the extra pigs during the day slaughter session are acceptable to the meat traders concerned.

Economic Services Bureau
25 February 1999


Decommissioning Programme and Contingency Plans
during Commissioning of Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse

Daily throughput of the existing abattoirs is as follows -

AbattoirDaily throughput
Daily throughput
(number)(%)(number) (%)
Kennedy Town Abattoir (KTA) 1,8002750 26
Cheung Sha Wan Abattoir (CSWA)1,400 219048
Yuen Long Slaughterhouse (YLSH) 1,300205026
Tsuen Wan Slaughterhouse (TSWH) 2,1003200
Total (note)6,600100190100

(Note : The daily throughput of the Cheung Chau Slaughterhouse is insignificant and thus is not reflected above)

Phase I
Decommissioning Programme

--Designed capacity of SSSH : 1,300 - 2,500 pigs and 150 - 250 cattle.

--KTA (daily throughput of 1,800 pigs and 50 cattle) will be closed.

--During the first 28 days of Phase I -

    - 1,300 pigs and 50 cattle to be slaughtered at SSSH; and

    - The remaining 500 pigs to be diverted to CSWA.

--During the 29th day - the 42nd day of Phase I -

    -1,800 pigs and 50 cattle to be slaughtered at SSSH thus obviating the need to divert 500 pigs for slaughtering at CSWA.

--The above arrangements take into account D Arch S' assessment that the daily throughput of SSSH shall be maintained at 1,300 pigs and 50 cattle in the first 28 days of operation in Phase I.

Contingency Plan

--In the worst case scenario of a complete shutdown of SSSH, KTA could be re-activated to take in 1,200 pigs and 50 cattle.

--600 pigs will be taken care of by CSWA, which has spare capacity to absorb this additional workload.
Phase II
Decommissioning Programme

--Designed capacity of SSSH : 3,000 - 4,500 pigs and 400 cattle.

--CSWA (daily throughput of 1,400 pigs and 90 cattle) will be closed.

--All the 1,400 pigs and 90 cattle to be transferred from CSWA to SSSH.

Contingency plan

--Despite the very low risk, KTA will be maintained as a backup to attend to any operational deficiencies in SSSH or other unexpected problems.

Phase III
Decommissioning Programme

--Designed capacity of SSSH : 5,000 pigs and 400 cattle. In Phase III, D Arch S will test the capability of SSSH to handle slaughtering of 6,000 pigs (in case of higher slaughtering demand during festivals).

--YLSH (daily throughput of 1,300 pigs and 50 cattle) will be closed.

--All the 1,300 pigs and 50 cattle to be slaughtered at SSSH.

--The total number of pigs from KTA, CSWA and YLSH will be 4,500. SSSH will be able to absorb all these pigs as it will operate at its intended capacity of around 5,000 pigs during Phase III.

Contingency Plan

--Despite the very low risk, KTA will be maintained as a backup to attend to any operational deficiencies in SSSH or other unexpected problems.