Work is to begin in Kampong Cham province in January on the construction of a water treatment facility and landfill, worth a combined $22 million.

Officials said the facility will filter safe wastewater for release into the environment, reducing the odours affecting people living around target areas.

Technical officials from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport and provincial authorities held a meeting on December 19 to discuss the project.

Kampong Cham provincial governor Un Chanda said the project, which is slated to start as early as January, had for a number of years undergone feasibility studies implemented jointly by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Ministry of Public Works.

“This project is not just a wastewater treatment facility, it also connects a drainage system of more than 50km in Kampong Cham province,” he said, adding that this is the province’s first ever large-scale wastewater project.

Chanda said the project will help Kampong Cham province in a number of ways, such as by improving the environment through the removal of bad odours, ensuring hygienic surroundings for residents and enhancing the beauty of the province.

“Currently, the system flows wastewater directly into lakes without it having been treated.

“But in the near future, the wastewater released will have gone through a standardised treatment system. The treated water will be safe for use on crops,” he said.

Chanda said he expected the project to help Kampong Cham province gain a good score in the ‘clean city’ competition.

Ho Ratha, a Kampong Cham province technical official, said the wastewater treatment project will be built in Kampong Cham town.

The system will be based on zones in the town, with a large reservoir built to store the treated water for local people to use in agriculture.

“While Kampong Cham will no longer suffer from bad odours when the facility is ready for use, its construction may affect some local residents, so we call for the cooperation of local people to ensure the project runs smoothly,” Ratha said.

Ros Vanna, secretary of state at the Ministry of Public Works, said that a date for breaking ground on the project, to be decided by Prime Minister Hun Sen, had yet to be determined.

He said, however, that provincial authorities must prepare the human resources necessary for the project, especially in ensuring its legacy was long-lasting.

“Some problems have occurred in other provinces, particularly regarding maintenance after they were completed.

“So the Kampong Cham provincial authorities must prepare their officials for safeguarding this coming engineering achievement,” Vanna said.

The Ministry of Public Works said that with the capital and certain provinces, such as Preah Sihanouk and Siem Reap, already having such facilities, the government is planning to construct them in other provinces to protect natural beauty and the environment.