The government plans to spend approximately $200 million on increasing the capacity of water treatment plants and organising sewage systems in Preah Sihanouk province to prevent wastewater from flowing into the sea and protect the environment.
Finance Minister Aun Pornmoniroth and Transport Minister Sun Chanthol on Tuesday visited water treatment plants in Sihanoukville to study ways to increase their treatment capacity.
Mr Chanthol said that with the growth of investment and strong development in the province, including increased construction of commercial and residential buildings, resorts, hotels and factories, the amount of wastewater produced is also rising.
He said that currently, a water treatment plant has the capacity to treat only about 5,700 cubic meters per day, while up to 25,000 cubic meters of wastewater flows from locations in the province daily.
Mr Chanthol noted that more attention needs to be paid towards increasing the capacity of water treatment plants in the province to 64,000 cubic meters per day and that the drainage systems also need to be improved.
“In order to reduce the chemicals in wastewater, we have to spray oxygen to treat the water and only one plant in the province has the technology to do so,” he said. “So we will seek an urgent budget from the Economy Ministry to provide the technology to other plants to reduce the amount of chemicals before the water is discharged into the sea.”
“We will also buy other equipment, such as generators, to enable the plants to function in case of blackouts,” Mr Chanthol added.
He said that the ministry also plans to improve the sewage piping system in Sihanoukville and estimated that it will cost about $200 million to solve all the wastewater woes in the province.
Mr Chanthol appealed to hotels, guesthouses and business owners in the province not to discharge raw wastewater into the sea, noting that some businesses do so during the night to avoid detection by the authorities.
Mr Pornmoniroth said after the visit that he would meet with the chairman of the National Committee for the Management and Development of the Coastal Zone and relevant ministers on May 21 to discuss details of the water treatment plant and drainage system projects in the province.
“We will review the masterplans and prioritise projects that need to be implemented quickly because the budget is limited,” he noted.
In March, four water treatment plants were officially launched at Independence Beach, behind Sokha hotel, Ou Sam Ath and Ochheuteal Beach to prevent raw wastewater from flowing into the sea.