Construction of new Phuket incinerator underway

PHUKET: Work to build Phuket’s second incinerator at Saphan Hin is underway and the 940-million-baht facility should be completed by the end of the year, a provincial committee on trash management issues was told on Wednesday.

Prachoom Suriya, who heads the Phuket City Municipality Environmental Division, told the Phuket Provincial Trash Management Committee that project contractor PJT Technology is now surveying the site and beginning work.

PJT, the Thai affiliate of Malaysian firm IRIS Technologies (M) Sdn Bhd, is to build and manage the plant for 15 years.

The new incinerator, to have two chambers each capable of burning 300 tons of trash daily, will be located next to the existing incinerator.

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The facility should be ready by December this year, Mr Prachoom said in a cable TV report.

The new incinerator will have the capacity to generate 14MW of electricity, with approximately 10MW distribution for commercial purpose. Twenty percent of electricity generated will be used internally while the rest will be distributed to the grid for commercial purposes, says PJT’s website (www.pjt.co.th).

Mr Prachoom told the committee that the project, being funded under the government’s Thai Khem Kaeng (Strong Thailand) economic stimulus package, will include new paved roads to the incinerator and the existing landfill, floodlights,12 CCTV cameras, new vehicles and on-site facilities to wash down garbage trucks.

The new roads and “truck wash” will come as good news to Phuket City residents, as all garbage trucks going to and from the existing incinerator and landfill need to pass through the heart of Phuket Town, where they leave trails of mud and streaks of putrid liquid on city streets.

The existing incinerator, which went into operation in 1999, will have to cease operation in about one year for an overhaul. After the new facility is up and running, work upgrading the existing incinerator can begin, he said.

The existing incinerator can burn about 250 tons of solid waste daily, about half the amount sent to Saphan Hin daily, on average.

The remainder is piled up in the surrounding 120-rai landfill, on low-lying land surrounded by mangrove forest.

The pile of refuse there continues to grow higher, increasing the threat of a repeat of the June 2007 ecological disaster when heavy rains caused a toxic plume of water to enter surrounding mangroves and waterways, wiping out entire stocks of farmed fish.

Among those attending the meeting on Wednesday were Phuket City Mayor Somjai Suwansupapana and Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (PPAO) President Paiboon Upatising.

Mr Paiboon stressed the need for each local administrative body to improve garbage separation to reduce the amount of solid waste that needs to be incinerated.

He suggested the construction of more local organic fertilizer factories as one way to better deal with the organic component of the waste stream.

In a related story, the PPAO is now encouraging members of the public to bring toxic household waste, such as used batteries, to a special tent set up at Saphan Hin.

For details about the campaign, which runs through Monday, read the previous report here.

— Stephen Michael Fein

Phuket News

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