Prime Minister Hun Sen presided over the groundbreaking ceremony of the Choeung Ek Wastewater Treatment Facility – to be built using more than $20 million in aid from Japan – in Chak Angre Leu commune’s Prek Ta Kong I village of Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district.

The station will be built on an area of 3ha and is scheduled to be completed in November next year.

Speaking at the February 22 ceremony, he said three infrastructure projects had been launched or opened in February with the cooperation of Japan. These included the launch of the treatment plant project, the upgraded stretch of National Road 5 between Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provinces and the inauguration of seven bridges in Kratie and Prey Veng provinces.

He said construction of the wastewater treatment station stemmed from the good relations between Cambodia and Japan, noting that 2023 would mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of this relationship.

He added that Cambodia’s progress could not be separated from the contributions of friendly nations, including Japan.

He said Phnom Penh has a waste problem. And without proper treatment or filtration, those who suffer the consequences are the ones who live along the river. Contaminated water can also spread into other diseases in the city.

“Before we dump waste into the river, we need to treat it first. This is our responsibility as environmental managers and will ensure adequate sanitation for Phnom Penh residents,” he said.

Japanese ambassador Masahiro Mikami said at the event that Cambodia is experiencing significant economic development and that with rapid development there is an inevitable increase in wastewater and waste, especially in urban areas.

“Wastewater systems are an important and indispensable part of infrastructure for all cities. It is not always easy to secure a site for the construction of a wastewater treatment station in developing cities,” he said.

Mikami added that the treatment station will use Japanese technology developed in recent years. The system has qualities such as low power consumption, easy structural operations and simple maintenance.

Phnom Penh governor Khuong Sreng said the project will build a twin-engined pumping station with a total capacity of 420 cubic metres per hour. Almost 2km of sewer pipes will connect to the station. A second, smaller waste treatment plant will be build in 2025.