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Officials look into Bavet SEZ’s wastewater

A car passes through the gates of the Manhattan Special Economic Zone in Bavet last year, where villagers have accused the SEZ of polluting a waterway.
A car passes through the gates of the Manhattan Special Economic Zone in Bavet last year, where villagers have accused the SEZ of polluting a waterway. Pha Lina

Officials look into Bavet SEZ’s wastewater

Svay Rieng province’s environment department yesterday conducted an inspection of a new water treatment facility at the Man­hattan Special Economic Zone, days after villagers complained of untreated water draining into a nearby canal they use.

The Bavet town-based SEZ started construction of a wastewater treatment facility a year ago, after villagers living near Tapov Canal, which runs through Bati, Prasat and Bavet communes, said the water was polluted by untreated runoff from the industrial park.

Koeut Saroeurn, head of the environment department, said they inspected the $20 million treatment facility and SEZ tenant Top Sports, which has been fined twice for discharging untreated water, but did not to divulge his findings.

“I cannot make any comment before the result. We will see how the ministry proceeds with the case after that,” he said. He added that it wasn’t within his power to clean up the already-polluted canal.

Prasat commune chief Keo Sean said he was aware of the new plant but that did not solve the large amounts of polluted water in the canal. “Our commune cannot afford to clean [it]. I think the government needs to do it.’’

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