Wastewater treatment plant in Gaeddu restored
Sonam Wangdi, PhuentshoglingJan 5 2014
The waste water treatment plant in Gaeddu is functional once again. The credit goes to a group who were trained to operate and maintain such treatment plants by SNV Bhutan. As a month-long training, the group, comprising of masons, carpenters, plumbers and lab technicians helped restore the plant.
The Tala Hydro Power Project had constructed the waste water treatment plant in 2005. However, the Nu.10 million worth project had remained non-operational for about four years.
Residents say ever since the Tala Hydro Power Project left the area in 2009, no maintenance was carried out at the plant. This resulted in sewerage pipes getting blocked, and many leakages.
“It is not just waste water treatment plants but also drinking water facilities that need proper maintenance. The absence of maintenance knowledge results in huge expenditure for the government,” said a member from the group, Pema Khandu.
Henk Veerdig from SNV Bhutan says the proper operation and maintenance of structures is challenging in the country because the cost of operation and maintenance is usually overlooked.
“You need an annual budget to cover operation and maintenance costs including the people who are skilled and motivated to operate the system. The operation and maintenance cost is often underestimated and you run the risk of having to rebuild and invest a lot of money to start from the scratch.”
Till date, only the Gaeddu College of Business Studies and the hospital have been connected to the sewerage system. There are future plans are to connect the rest of Gaeddu town.
The Gaeddu Thuemi, Sonam Tobgay, said the town is divided into three parts and they are planning to connect all of them to the sewerage system. “Once we do that, then the septic tanks we already have, will become redundant. In fact, this treatment plant was here even before Gaeddu town was planned. If they had connected our sewage system to the main one when they planned the town, we would not have had to construct the septic tanks”
Although, the treatment plant has been fixed, the Dzongkhag Municipal Office is waiting for Gaeddu College and the hospital to clear their pipes connecting to the main sewage line. The treatment plant can be utilised only after that.