Newsdetails for Southeast Asia

26.07.2017 10:09 Category: LBOR (BORDA Laos)
by Vansoukkhy Keosengsay – BORDA Laos

Laos: The Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Standard Performance and Material Behavior Workshop

On the 7th July 2017, BORDA Laos and their national partner Department of Housing and Urban Planning (DHUP) (DEWATS Team) together with BORDA-AIT organized a decentralized wastewater treatment Standard Performance and Material Behavior Workshop at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT) of Laos.

The Standard Performance and Material Behavior workshop was attended by officials of all divisions of DHUP as well as officials of Department of Pollution Control (DPC) of Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE), Department of Hygiene of Ministry of Public Health, Department of Standard and Measurement of Ministry of Science and Technology, Department of Import-Export of Ministry of Industry and Commerce and representatives of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The main purpose of the workshop was to introduce standard performance and material behavior tests for decentralized wastewater treatment as well as to discuss the rights, obligations and responsibilities, which are related to the treatment, standardization, effluent standard and prefab septic tank importation, among the departments concerned.

Mr. Phouthasenh Arkhavong, Deputy Director General of DHUP, expressed a warm welcome to the experts from overseas as well as respect to all participants. He told that the wastewater problem is a big issue that can only be solved based on the new effluent standard. This standard allows only 30mg/l COD for the effluent of toilet from household wastewater. “It is a big challenge to all treatment systems and the technology that we currently have. Furthermore, we also do not know the standard of the performance efficiency and the material of the treatment products because they have never been tested before and because we have no capacity on this. Fortunately, DHUP has a MoU with BORDA Laos. Therefore, we asked experts from BORDA network and BORDA partner institutions such as Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) to support. This workshop is a great opportunity to share experiences and to find a solution together”, said Mr. Phouthasenh Arkhavong. He also appealed to increase attention to wastewater management and emphasized that this workshop is a great opportunity to involve all stakeholders in discussions and for them to see and give recommendations in regards of:

  1. Brainstorm about the needs and opportunities for applying standards of performance testing and material behavior to DEWATS.
  2. Raise awareness of relevant institutes in Laos regarding the importance of standard protocols for testing performance and materials of DEWATS.
  3. Promote development of standard protocols for testing the performance of DEWATS in Laos.

During the meeting, Mr Bounchan Khamphilayvong, Project Coordinator of BORDA Laos, said that BORDA-AIT is willing to support doing performance and material behavior testing and that it will be good if there was a standard that the Ministry of Science and Technology of Laos can certify, too. In the future, there might be investors who want to invest in or produce prefab septic tanks. Then we could use this standard to enforce them to follow.

It was also acknowledged by Mr. Khamthavy Thaiphachanh, Director General of DHUP, that it is good news that BORDA-AIT is able to give their supporton this issue. However, he also said that they would like to know whether the efforts will come out with good results or not. Therefore, the systems should be tested and get a certificate in order to know whether it meets the national standard or not.

In the end, the workshop was a great success. All participants were informed about the collaboration of BORDA and AIT on the on-site sanitation (OSS) testing center and about the responsibilities, rights and obligations of all departments concerned in the field of wastewater management. Furfurmore, the participants were informed about the need of the basic treatment of wastewater from both septic tanks and DEWATS plants which need to be tested for their quality to support the National Environmental Standard and to go on to be put into the housing construction permission process in the future.

Moreover, DHUP and BORDA Laos will be more tightened in cooperation and coordination of applying the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) into Urban Environmental Improvement (wastewater, solidwaste, green city) with models of DEWATS, Decentralized Solid Waste Management (DESWAM) and Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) including Product Standard Testing based on the Lao Development Strategy-2025, the Environmental Protection Law, SDGs and New Urban Agenda.