EARTH Thailand

Officials fear new plan for Klong Dan

Bangkok Post 16 August 2015 | Apinya Wipatayotin

B315m sought for waste water study

A 315-million-baht plan to conduct a new study for the controversial Klong Dan waste water treatment project has many top bureaucrats afraid of another failure, a senior government official said yesterday.

The official, who declined to be named, said a previous study for the project was not acted upon, resulting in what he called fear of another “stupidity fee”.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has proposed the 315-
million-baht study. It will look into ways to resolve the problem of the disastrous Klong Dan waste water treatment project in Samut Prakan province.

The latest plan follows the order by the Supreme Administrative Court last year for the NVPSKG Consortium involved in the failed plant to be paid nine billion baht by the Department of Pollution Control. The final figure was agreed after the consortium waived the daily interest rate, which amounted to two billion baht.

The ministry plans to seek a budget of 57 million baht for the 2016 fiscal year and 228 million baht for the 2017 fiscal year to finance the study. The other 30 million baht will come from the Waste Water Management Authority.

The project will be called “Technical evaluation and people’s acceptance of waste water treatment in Samut Prakan province (Klong Dan)”. It is not clear how long the study will take.

The source said the DPC had conducted a similar study in 2004 at a cost of 45 million baht. It was supposed to cover factors like economics, technical engineering, environment and society.

The ministry made no decision on it at the time as the Klong Dan fraud case was still in the courts. “We are afraid that we are going to end up with a second ‘stupidity fee’. More and more money will be spent in a useless way to find out an answer that already exists,” he said.

The source said the result might not be different from the previous study. It would be better to spend money on studies into alternatives.

In 2004, the department hired two consultancies to study a resolution to the Klong Dan waste water treatment project. The study proposed five resolutions, he said.

One was to complete the unfinished project by building a new system for improving discharged water quality and for sediment management, together with extending a water discharge pipeline 10km out to sea.

A second suggestion was to continue the project without discharging waste water into the sea during the dry season and reusing the water. A third option was to stop the project and select a new site.

The fourth option said the project should be discontinued and the ministry should find a new function for the waste water treatment site.

The final proposal was to do nothing with the project. The study further advised that more should be spent on sediment management.