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Patong wastewater plant now open

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PATONG: The drive to keep Patong Bay free of seaweed in the upcoming high season took a big step forward with the opening of a new wastewater treatment plant on October 12.

The center, built by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s Wastewater Management Authority (WMA), with 13 million baht from the Danish International Development Assistance (Danida) fund, uses a constructed wetland to filter wastewater before it flows into the sea.

WMA Director Sarawut Srisakuna explained, “After the tsunami we received a message from the Danish ambassador saying that he wanted to help us improve our wastewater treatment capability by using “subsurface wetland” technology developed in Denmark.

The WMA saw the opportunity to use land next to the existing sewage treatment plant to build a second treatment system in the hope of preventing the seaweed plague at Patong Beach during the past few high seasons, he said.

“Seventy percent of Patong’s wastewater can be treated by the old system, but the other 30% comes from Klong Pakbang and Klong Paklak. This water contains a high concentration of organic wastes and chemical substances, such as detergents and shampoo. These are nutrients the seaweed feeds on during the high season. Using the new plant we can treat much more of this water, which otherwise would flow into the bay untreated,” he said.

Patong Deputy Mayor Chairat Sukbal said that the system is already working very well, but will take time to reach peak effectiveness at reducing the biological oxygen demand (BOD), a key indicator used to determine water quality calculated as milligrams of organic material per liter of water.

“The system is not yet 100 % effective because we must wait three months for the system to take full effect. Before we began using the system, the BOD value of the water dumped into the bay was measured at 40 mg/l. After the water first passed through the system, it was reduced to 3 mg/l. After three months it should go down to zero,” he said.

Moderately polluted rivers typically have a BOD range between 2 mg/l and 8 mg/l. Sewage is considered treated if it can be reduced to a BOD of 20 mg/l. Since this water flows directly into Patong Bay, the goal has been set at zero.

“This system is built to absorb phosphorus and nitrogen, which spur seaweed to grow in the bay. Small amounts of other chemicals might make it through, but it won’t be dangerous for people,” Chairat said.

Sarawut said, “The system will pump water from Pakbang and Paklak canals back to the station for treatment before it is released to the sea. The pumping system automatically turns off during high tide, when the seawater reaches the canal. It reactivates when the water level recedes.

“This system can treat about 1,000 to 1,200 cubic meters of waste a day, about 200 cubic meters an hour. We will set it based on the tide schedule to avoid taking in saltwater” he said.

While the system will have pumps, it will rely primarily on natural filtration, much like the one rainwater goes through before percolating into wells. It passes through increasingly small sediment layers before reaching the sea.

Danida offered its assistance to Thailand after the tsunami because of the large number of Danish citizens who visit and live in the country, but who were barred from donating money by the Thaksin government. Instead, they began devising ways they could assist in creating public works projects such as the water treatment center, he added.

“We received 13 million baht in support for the project from Denmark, which is also supplying an annual management budget of 500,000 baht for three years, a total of 1.5 million baht. During that time they will train Patong Municipality to take over system operations,” he said.

Danida has funded a similar system in Phang Nga, at a cost of 4 million baht, and is providing 28 million baht for a third system now under construction in the Phi Phi Islands.

“It is much more expensive [on Phi Phi] because we will have to ferry all the construction equipment to the island,” he said.

The project in Phang Nga has reduced BOD levels to less than 5 mg/l after three months.

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

For travellers to Phuket, testing is out, quarantine is in

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Phuket Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong (via Facebook)

The on-again-off-again plans for testing people for Covid-19 as they arrive in Phuket will be replaced by quarantine after May 15, according to Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong’s latest announcement. In an online video broadcast last night, the vice governor confirmed the new scheme after Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew first mentioned it in an executive meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday.

There are now 25 provinces on the Phuket red zone list that they instated on April 22, with anyone arriving from those places required to have proof that they are either fully vaccinated or tested negative for Covid-19 within the last 72 hours. Without proof, people have to take a rapid antigen test to confirm they did not have Covid-19 before they would be allowed on the island. The test was first set to be 300 baht for everyone, and later controversially made free for Thai people and 500 baht for foreigners.

There had been some back and forth with budget concerns of being able to provide the mass testing and who would pay how much for continued testing. Perhaps requiring people to quarantine in Phuket is cheaper than testing them when they arrive (cheaper for Phuket officials anyway).

The original scheme was set to expire May 15, and announcements were made about extending the plan and stopping testing right away. For now, this debate seems to have settled on replacing the testing with a mandatory quarantine upon entering Phuket.

The vice-governor explained that the rapid antigen test will continue through May 14, and then starting May 15, anyone who arrives without a vaccine or a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arriving in Phuket will be required to quarantine for 14 days. They set a goal of zero new infections by the end of the next two weeks. And he stated they are committed to doing whatever it takes as “Phuket cannot continue with this risk”.

Speaking to The Phuket News… “We want to send a sign to the country that we are cleaning up our province. The 3 vice governors [in Phuket] have been ordered to take care of each district by cooperating with local administration officers as well as community leaders to do proactive screening,”

After announcing the quarantine plan for Phuket, the vice governor spoke confidently that in the near future the island will have enough jabs to vaccinate every person on the island. Religious leaders from any faith are currently being vaccinated because of their general proximity to people during religious ceremonies and practices.

Vice Governor Piyapong pled with people with the people of Phuket who were on the fence about Covid-19 vaccinations, anti-vaxxers, or those otherwise resisting getting the jabs needed to reach herd immunity.

“If you are still deciding whether or not to get vaccinated, please come to get vaccinated”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Pfizer vaccines on the way, Phuket’s July re-opening | May 7

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Disease Control Department back-peddled saying that that foreigners living in Thailand WILL also be vaccinated, governor of Chiang Mai is calling for the ban on dining in at restaurants in the northern city to be lifted and for eateries to be allowed to serve food on-site until 9pm, Tourism and Sports Minister insists the southern island of Phuket must record zero Covid-19 cases if a planned July re-opening is to go ahead, and 150 million baht worth of methamphetamine pills were impounded in Nakhon Phanom yesterday

 

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Phuket

We’re looking for a Video Editor/Production Assistant in Phuket

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The Thaiger is seeking a full time video editor and production assistant for a new project based in Phuket. The role is open to a Thai national but with great English skills as well. You will need to be able to work to deadlines with a crazy bunch of stressed out news hosts, guests and the rest of The Thaiger team.

You’ll also need a general knowledge of the Thai news cycle as the content will be largely centred around daily news and current affairs. Knowledge of social media, and especially YouTube, will be an advantage.

Prior work in the TV or video production industry would be a requirement; we couldn’t care less about your educational qualifications. The role would be Monday to Friday.

The work hours would be earlier in the day, probably starting around 7am. There may be some occasional travel to Bangkok involved as well. Salary would be between 30-40,000 baht per month, depending on experience with opportunities for bonuses. The initial contract would be for 3 months, renewable.

If you are interested, or know someone who could fit the job, send an email to THAIGER EDITOR at info@thethaiger.com

 

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