The inter-ministerial committee responsible for developing drainage and water treatment systems has agreed to proceed with an infrastructure project to provide Preah Sihanouk province’s Sihanoukville with the capacity to treat up to 30,000 cubic metres of wastewater per day.
An agreement was made during an inter-ministerial meeting on challenges and solutions of wastewater problems in Sihanoukville on Monday.
The meeting was chaired by Economy and Finance Minister Aun Pornmoniroth. Issues discussed were investments, restoration and development projects, and drainage and water treatment systems.
The meeting was attended by senior officials from the ministries of Land Management, Environment, Public Works and Tourism.
In a press release published yesterday, the Economy and Finance Ministry said Sihanoukville’s economy is growing fast, especially in the industrial and tourism sectors.
The ministry said that due to growth, infrastructure has to be upgraded so wastewater does not flow into the ocean untreated.
The ministry noted that the National Committee for the Management and Development of the Coastal Zone previously attempted to address the problem by constructing four water treatment plants to treat wastewater before discharging it into the ocean.
The ministry said that the inter-ministerial committee has agreed, in principle, to take urgent measures to organise the infrastructure projects needed.
“The solution is to modernise the existing wastewater treatment plants to have the capacity to filter up to 30,000 cubic metres of wastewater per day,” it said. “We also need to build more wastewater treatment plants, arrange drainage systems and provide equipment and materials.”
Ministry spokesman Meas Sokdesan yesterday said the budget to upgrade existing wastewater treatment plants is still pending. Mr Sokdesan said ministries are still studying the details.
“The Ministry of Public Works and Transport has the preliminary figure, and it will work together with us and other relevant ministries and provincial authorities to know how much it’s going to cost,” he said.
Heng Rathpiseth, director-general of the Public Works Ministry’s public works department, said the wastewater problem in Sihanoukville is in urgent need of attention, and that upgrades will need to be done gradually.
Mr Rathpiseth said that during the first phase, $100 million could be needed.
“We hope it could start soon […] we have to study the details during the next three months,” he said. “We have to study the details of the master plan so that the project can start by mid-2021 or mid-2022 before Cambodia prepares to host the Asean summit.”
Mr Rathpiseth noted that currently, Sihanoukville is able to treat more than 10,000 cubic metres of water per day, and that the committee is aiming to eventually be able to filter up to 40,000 cubic metres per day.