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City sewage plan mooted

Children play near the drainage canal at Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district in January this year. JICA this week unveiled a new master plan for treating the city’s wastewater.
Children play near the drainage canal at Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district in January this year. JICA this week unveiled a new master plan for treating the city’s wastewater. Hong Menea

City sewage plan mooted

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has finalised a sewage management master plan for Phnom Penh, which is in dire need of a wastewater treatment plant, officials said yesterday.

Uchida Togo, project formulation adviser at JICA, said the organisation is now working with the government to disseminate the master plan, which would run through 2035.

“We need to ask for the people’s support to justify using the national budget on such areas as [wastewater] management,” he said. “The government has many issues that they have to consider for using their national budget, and this is a new issue that increasingly a lot of people are interested in.”

There are different ways of treating sewage using various technologies, Togo explained. The type of technologies now being are referred to as CASP and PTF, which are commonly used and require less land.

For example, a treatment facility using CASP technology would require just 16.3 hectares of land, and cost about $450 million, according to documents. The yearly cost to maintain and operate the facility is estimated at $14.8 million.

Currently, the capital doesn’t have a wastewater treatment plant, although some enterprises are required to have their own. Choeung Ek lake, which is used to naturally treat wastewater, “is over capacity”, Togo said.

City Hall officials were unable to comment yesterday.

Ministry of Environment spokesman Sao Sopheap said the ministry would like to see the wastewater treatment plan “as soon as possible”, though such a project will take time.

“First, we need to do a proper study, and secondly, we have to find a solution in terms of the financing,” he said.

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