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30 Years of Groundwork   Embracing a New Age
Design must be related to the following aspects:
  • DSD 30th Anniversary Review
  • River Revitalization: Implement ecological elements and landscape design to improve environment and provide the public with quality of life and green spaces, for example, the Tsui Ping River Project and Kai Tak River Improvement Project.
  • Rehabilitation: Replace and repair the aging drains and sewers.
  • Relocation: Relocate the aging Shatin Sewage Treatment Works to caverns in phases. After the relocation, the existing site could release about 28 hectares of land for public use which would facilitate the sustainable development of Hong Kong.
  • To enhance citizens' understanding to the work of DSD
  • To encourage citizens to participate in the design of manhole cover, jointly establishing the city.
All citizens in Hong Kong, people who care about urban development and interested in design (All staff of the organizer, contractor, members of the judging panel and their immediate family members are not allowed to participate in this competition.)
Entry Submission
15 Nov – 15 Dec 2018
(Late submission will not be accepted)
Entry Assessment
20 Dec 2018
(Select the 1st, 2nd, 3rd winning entries, three merit awards, and four other entries for competing the most popular award)
Shortlist Announcement
21 Dec 2018
(10 shortlisted entries enter online voting)
Online Voting
21 Dec 2018 – 11 Jan 2019
(online voting for selecting the most popular award)
Result Announcement
14 Jan 2019
Prize Presentation
19 Jan 2019
(DSD Open Day 2019)
Judging Criteria
Judging Stage
First Stage:
The judging panel which formed by professionals who are knowledgeable in manhole cover design will select the winning entries.

Second stage:
Online voting will be held for selecting the most popular award from the 10 shortlisted entries by the first stage.
Results Announced
The results of the competition will be announced on the DSD's website on 14th January, 2019. Winners will be notified by letter and invited to attend the prize presentation to introduce their winning entries and share their design experience. The winning entry may be manufactured to product and in use in Hong Kong.
DSD Competition
What do you know about Manhole Cover?
When playing phones on the streets, did you notice various manhole covers of different patterns and wordings on the ground? How much do you know the codes behind them?
The birth of manhole is closely linked to the development of Hong Kong. In the early days, the combined sewage and drainage channel in the Victoria City (i.e. the current West Central, Admiralty, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, etc.) was simple, they only relied on rainwater to wash away the excretion. The channels/ditches were not covered and it was easy to spread bacteria. In 1894, a plague in Hong Kong prompted the Government to speed up the implementation of water supply and sewage reforms, including sewage and stormwater diversion and covering channels/ditches. From then on, the water supply, sewerage and stormwater pipelines were transferred to the underground. Later, stone and stoneware were replaced by cast iron to build more durable pipes and manhole covers.
DSD Manhole cover design competition
At present, there are two types of manhole covers patterns commonly found in Hong Kong. The small square indicates a sewer manhole while the round pattern indicates stormwater manholes. Therefore, there is a simple term "Round-clean-Square-dirty". A manhole covers design should be easily identified by maintenance team. As sewage manhole may accumulate with explosive and toxic gases, the square pattern could help to alert the team to be careful during maintenance.
Mysterious symbol
Manhole image Text symbols on manhole covers are like their ID card, which could provide important information of the manhole, such as loading, relevant project works, etc.
  • "H↑K"
    According to the data, the arrow in the middle of "H↑K" has its existence value. When Hong Kong was still a British colony, this symbol symbolized government materials. It was called "Royal Warehouse" at that time. (now referred to as the Government Supplies Department). Unless there is a source certificate, recycling yards cannot retrieve the manholes to prevent people from stealing.
  • "H","M","L"
    These show the loading capacity of the manhole covers. ‘H’ is Heavy duty (Heavy) meaning it can bear heavy trucks driving on it; M is Medium duty (intermediate) indicating it can be passed by ordinary vehicles; L is Light duty (light) which is suitable for general footpath.
In addition, some of the manhole covers are marked with relevant design standards, as well as the project number. For example: "EN124" is an EU standard certification. It is the standard for standardizing the quality, type, and passing tests of manhole covers, while the project number can indicate the year of installation of the covers.
DSD Competition
Rules and Eligibility
  • All entries must conform to the theme of the competition, and all entries must be original.
  • The entries must be designed according to the specifications provided by the organizer, including the basic dimensions, structure and anti-slip function etc. A summary of the content should be provided either in Chinese or English (in no more than 250 words).
  • Participants can choose to design of the storm manhole cover or sewer manhole cover. The entries should be clearly indicated whether the manhole is a storm manhole cover or sewer manhole cover.
  • A participant can only submit one entry.
  • The submission of the entries must be in jpg or pdf format, the resolution should be at least 300dpi while the file size should not be larger than 5M.
  • The actual size of the entries is 675 mm x 675 mm.
  • In order to ensure the fairness of the competition, no personal name (including English or Pinyin abbreviation) or any personal information such as logos and graphics related to the author's identity may appear on the entries and the layout.
  • Decisions of the judges are final. The participants are not allowed to object and the competition does not have an appeal mechanism.
  • All staff of the organizer, contractor, members of the judging panel and their immediate family members are not allowed to participate in this competition.
  • Participants are required to comply with the relevant copyright laws. If the participants infringe the copyright or other related crimes, including but not limited to the submission, reprinting, copying and counterfeiting of the competition, the qualifications will be cancelled. Participants should be responsible for their own legal responsibility, and any legal disputes are irrelevant to the organizer.
  • The organizer may copy, use, modify, display, publish and distribute the submitted entries, or distribute them for any media, for publicity or education, without any remuneration or other notice.
  • The organizer has the intellectual property rights of the submitted entries, which can be put into production and distributed, displayed or published in any venue as (but not limited to) the promotion of the DSD activities.
  • After submitting the application, the participants will agree to all the terms and conditions on behalf of the participants, and will not remove any loss of the organizer from any of the principals who have filed their work for the legal liability and agree to the compensation.
Personal information collection statement
Personal information is provided by the participants and the relevant materials will only be used for participation in the Drainage Services Department. The information will only be provided by the person handling the application as a review, contact and related use. If the participants need to inquire or modify the personal information provided, please contact the staff via email ( If the contestant fails to provide sufficient, accurate and clear information, we may not be able to process the application.
Reference website
DSD Competition
Entry Submission
The online entry submission has been closed, thank you for your support!
Result Announcement
The manhole cover design and online voting have been finished successfully, below is the result:

First Prize

Second Prize

Third Prize

04 簡紫茵 KAN TSZ YAN
Merit 07 曾琬嵐 Tsang Yuen Nam
09 傅雅妍 Fu Nga Yin
10 彭家瑜 Pang Ka Yu

The Most Popular Award 01 袁慧萍 YUEN WAI PING NATALIE
Winners will be notified by letter and invited to attend the prize presentation.
Thank you for all your support! Please come to DSD Open Day 2019 (19-20 Jan) at Shatin Sewage Treatment Works and visit the exhibition of Manhole Cover Design Competition.