The area under the jurisdiction of the People's Government of Dacheng Town, Sanyuan County, Shaanxi Province (hereinafter referred to as the "Government of Dacheng Town") is located in the north bank of the Qinghe River, a tributary of the Weihe River. In 2012, for the purposes of optimizing the environment and solving the direct discharge of sewage, the Government of Dacheng Town applied for the project of "Construction of a Sewage Treatment Plant and Sewage Pipe Network", obtained the approval, and completed the land requisition and fence construction for the sewage treatment plant. However, the sewage treatment plant and sewage pipe network have not been constructed and the status of sewage discharge continued. The People's Procuratorate of Sanyuan County, Shaanxi Province (hereinafter referred to as the "Procuratorate of Sanyuan County") issued a procuratorial proposal to the Government of Dacheng Town. The Government of Dacheng Town failed to reply within the prescribed time limit, nor did it commence the construction of the sewage treatment plant and sewage pipe network. The Procuratorate of Sanyuan County thus initiated an administrative public interest proceeding and requested the people's court to confirm that the failure of the Government of Dacheng Town to perform the duties of environmental protection and pollution prevention and control in accordance with the law was in violation of law; and order the Government of Dacheng Town to continue performing its statutory duties in accordance with the law, construct the sewage treatment facilities and supporting pipe network, and ensure that the sewage discharged meet the relevant standards.
In the trial of first instance, Sanyuan Primary People's Court, Shaanxi held that the Government of Dacheng Town had the statutory duties of constructing facilities for centralized treatment of sewage in rural areas and public sewage pipe network. Within over four years after the approval of the project involved, it failed to commence construction, resulting in long-term direct discharge of sewage which exceeded the prescribed standards in four administrative villages and seven enterprises in Dacheng Town. After the Procuratorate of Sanyuan County issued a procuratorial proposal, the Government of Sanyuan County still failed to effectively resolve the aforementioned issue, and the public interests remained impaired. The act of the Government of Dacheng Town constituted an administrative nonfeasance for being slack in performing its statutory duties. Considering that the project involved a wide range and great volume of work, the construction period may be determined as 25 months with reference to the feasibility study report of the project. The court of first instance entered a judgment, confirming that the failure of the Government of Dacheng Town to fully perform the statutory duties of environmental protection and pollution prevention and control was illegal and ordered the Government of Dacheng Town to complete the construction of facilities for centralized treatment of sewage and public sewage pipe network in Dacheng Town, Sanyuan County within 25 months and ensure that the sewage discharged to the Qinghe River meet the discharge standards.
This is a case of administrative public interest litigation arising from construction of facilities for centralized treatment of sewage in rural areas and sewage pipe network in the Yellow River basin. The construction of sewage treatment facilities and pipe network in rural areas are important factors in the tough battle to prevent and control water pollution. It is also the due responsibility to promote the improvement of living environment in rural areas and build a beautiful countryside. In this case, the Government of Dacheng Town failed to perform its statutory duties and the construction of the project involved had not been initiated after the approval, resulting in long-term direct discharge of sewage exceeding the prescribed standards into the Qinghe River. The people's court accepting the case upheld the claim of the procuratorial organ in accordance with the law and after the judgment took effect, it and the procuratorial organ jointly dispatched personnel to the construction site to continue supervision and urge the completion and service of the project involved on schedule. The efforts of the people's court have demonstrated that the people's court and the people's procuratorate are oriented to safeguarding public interests, giving full play to judicial functions, supervising and supporting administration by law, effectively solving prominent environmental problems in rural areas, and ensuring the implementation of the strategy of revitalization of rural areas.