Local authorities on Tuesday decided to close a canal at Sihanoukville’s Sokha Beach following the completion of four facilities in Preah Sihanouk province designed to treat wastewater before it reaches the sea. Four more facilities are still under construction.
The first four water treatment plants, which have been open for testing since Monday and have been linked to one another, are located at Independence, Sokha, O’Sa’at and Ochheuteal beaches.
The decision to close the canal was made to transfer the flow of polluted water at Sokha Beach to one of the facilities before being pumped into the Ochheuteal site to be purified and released into the sea, said Preah Sihanouk deputy governor Cheav Vichheak, who also heads the province’s sewage system committee.
“The main purpose of this work is to prevent as much wastewater as possible from flowing directly into the sea in order to minimise the damage to the beaches and the degradation of sea water quality,” he said.
Provincial government spokesperson Kheang Phearum said managing the sewage system has become the government’s pressing priority.
He said the government has established the National Committee for Coastal Management and Development, led by Minister of Land
Management, Urban Planning and Construction – Chea Sophara, in addressing the issue.
“Through the committee’s efforts and good collaboration with the provincial government, [the authorities] construct eight water treatment facilities. While four have been completed, the remaining ones are currently in the phase of pipe connection and would be ready for testing soon,” he said.
Yos Chorm Narady, under-secretary of state at the Ministry of Land, Urban Planning and Construction who is leading the construction team, said the recently-opened treatment facilities were built to back up the old 16ha plant at Ochheuteal.
“The water treatment facilities were constructed to improve the cleanliness of sea water in Preah Sihanouk, so visitors to the province can enjoy clean beaches for Khmer New Year,” he said.
Cambodian National Research Organisation (CNRO) director Sok Sokhom lauded the committee’s “punctuality” in addressing polluted water in Preah Sihanouk.
“The issue of wastewater has become a complicated matter which demanded cooperation from authorities at national and sub-national levels."
“Currently, the quality of seawater is back to normal, allowing tourists to swim and have fun for the new year,” he said.