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Ministry needs millions to improve drainage

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
Sihanouville flood
Residents make their way through floods in Sihanoukville. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The Public Works and Transport Ministry on Friday said it plans to spend about $170 million to improve Sihanoukville’s wastewater treatment system and deal with floods.

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Transport Minister Sun Chanthol said during a workshop in the capital that he will push for the budget to be made available as soon as possible in order to control wastewater.

He was speaking at the Workshop on the Outcome of Master Plan Preparation and Feasibility Study for Municipal Sewage System Development in Sihanoukville.

Mr Chanthol said the funds would be used to improve the city’s sewage rehabilitation system to treat 40,000 cubic meters of wastewater per day and construct a 45-kilometre main drainage network, a 47-kilometre drainage connection from houses and hotels, a wastewater pumping station, and a 20-kilometre drainage system to release rainwater and prevent flooding.

“We have to push this project very soon, otherwise we can’t control the amount of wastewater flowing into the sea anymore,” he said. “Currently, we can treat about 30,000 cubic meters but we cannot cope with a higher volume until we improve the system.”

Mr Chanthol noted that in the future, if the population and buildings increase in the city, the government will keep increasing the capacity of the wastewater treatment facilities to deal with up to 160,000 cubic meters per day.

He added that relevant ministries and Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities are also planning to require residents, businesses and factory owners to pay for the wastewater that they discharge.

“It can be paid monthly and premises will be charged for the amount of clean water they use and also for the amount of wastewater they discharge,” Mr Chanthol said. “Other countries also use this formula, but we have not decided on the price mechanism.”

“However households, businesses and factories will pay different rates,” he added.

Mr Chanthol noted that Sihanoukville currently has a 16.2 hectare wastewater treatment plant which can only deal with about 30,000 cubic meters released in the city and not from other parts of the province.

Preah Sihanouk provincial governor Kuoch Chamroeun said on Friday that checks by the Coastal Development Commission found that more than 200 families had filled in streams and canals to build homes, contributing to flooding in the city.

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