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Phuket officials combat Karon wastewater, put heat on hotels

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: Phuket officials yesterday suggested threatening hotels in Karon with having their licenses revoked if they failed to adequately treat wastewater before releasing it.

The meeting between officers of the Karon Municipality and Regional Environmental Office 15 follows reports last month of rank black water pouring out of Nong Harn Canal into the ocean at Karon (story here).

“Karon Municipality has to find a way to stop households and hotels from releasing untreated wastewater into public water systems. If they fail to do so, the black water that stirred up sediment in the Nong Harn Canal will be seen again. It is most likely to occur when the rainy season starts,” predicted Pornsri Suthanaruk, director of the Regional Environmental Office 15.

Karon Subdistrict Chief (Kamnan) Winai Chidchiew demanded that immediate action be taken, rather than wait for approval of a 350-million-baht budget for a wastewater management system.

Kamnan Winai suggested monitoring the hotels’ monthly water quality reports, which they are required to submit under Section 80 of the Enhancement and Conservation of National Environmental Quality Act BE 2535, as well as doing spot checks to ensure hotels are releasing water within acceptable quality limits.

“If hotels’ water quality is not up to standards, they should first get a warning. However, if it happens again, I advise revoking the hotel licenses,” said Kamnan Winai.

Karon Deputy Mayor Sompong Darbpeth shared Kamnan Winai’s sentiment.

“I think preventing unsafe wastewater from being dumped from hotels is a good idea. I believe that business owners will improve their wastewater treatment plans once they realize they might lose their license,” said Mr Sompong.

“If hotels and businesses manage their own wastewater treatment, it will be easier for Karon Municipality to focus on residential wastewater treatment.”

Karon Municipality has already applied for 350 million baht from the 2015 fiscal budget. However, Dr Pornsri noted that it was possible the money would not be granted due to a number of other pressing environmental projects.

“I suggest borrowing money from the Wastewater Management Authority (WMA) under the Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment office in Bangkok,” she said.

“The WMA can immediately approve the budget if Karon Municipality signs a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) allowing water treatment fees and management costs to be charged to them until the WMA gets all of the money back.”

The WMA would also provide training for local officers, Dr Pornsri said.

Mr Sompong vowed to hand a report from the meeting over to Governor Maitri Inthusut, who had visited the Nong Harn Canal the day after it ran black, and declared the water safe (story here).

— Saran Mitrarat

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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