Target of cleaner, ‘healthier’ Sarawak River by 2021

The former Zecon Toll Plaza headquarters will house the Sewerage Services Department Sarawak office.

The Sarawak River – the natural divider of North and South Kuching.

The ‘black and grey water’ flowing in what used to be a stream near Jalan Padungan.

The sludgy ‘black and grey water’ discharged from eateries at and near Jalan Padungan is among the contributing factor to pollution in Sarawak River.

KUCHING: The state government’s target to reduce ‘black and white water’ pollution flowing into Sarawak River will be achieved by 2021.

State Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) controller Peter Sawal, in giving this assurance, said currently there are still many houses on both riverbanks – the main generator of the ‘black and grey water’ flowing into the Sarawak River.

Specifically, the ‘black water’ refers to waste water from septic tanks, while the ‘grey water’ includes the water discharge from kitchens, bathrooms and washing areas.

“We are progressing well into achieving a much cleaner and healthier Sarawak River. Hopefully by 2021 when Package 2 of the Kuching Centralised Sewerage Services project reaches completion, both the grey and black water discharged from riverine dwellers around Kuching city will be treated and this will definitely improve the quality of Sarawak River in the long run,” Peter told The Boneo Post yesterday.

The sewerage planning for the state capital began with the implementation of Package I of the Kuching City Wastewater Management System – commissioned in October 2008. The RM530-million project, which reached completion on Jan 31, 2015, has benefitted some 60,000 population equivalent (PE) covering the entire Kuching business and commercial district where many major hotels and shopping complexes are sited on. It also covers the city’s central business district spanning from Jalan Satok and Wisma Saberkas right to Jalan Padungan area.

According to state Sewerage Services Department director Lau Hieng Ung, an allocation of RM750 million was approved under Package II for the sewerage system meant for 40,000 PE in Petra Jaya areas, such as Jalan Astana and Kampung Gita.

“Although the contract has not been finalised yet, works on the project by the contractor began six months ago,” he said, adding that the contract should be ready in the next few weeks.

The major components of Package II are the second module of the centralised sewage treatment facility, sewer network and property connections.

Lau said upon the completion of Package II, streams and rivers flowing into Sarawak River would be healthier and less-polluted than they are now.

“Still, under Package II we will only be able to cover 20 per cent of the whole of Kuching,” he said, adding that an estimate amount of RM4 billion would be needed if proper sewerage services for the whole city were to be implemented at current rate.

Lau also disclosed that the Darul Hana sewerage project, costing RM20 million, would also be implemented simultaneously with Package II.

“It will be able to provide sewerage services to 5,000 PE from the Darul Hana development area. The works comprise secondary and tertiary sewer networks and will be connected to the existing Kuching Centralised Sewage Treatment Plant (CSTP), which was commissioned under Package I,” he said.

The CSTP is located on a 10.9-hectares site adjacent to Tun Datuk Patinggi Abang Haji Muhammad Salahuddin Bridge. The area has sufficient land to accommodate four modules of sewage treatment facility – each to have the capacity to accommodate 100,000 PE.

“The sewer network is designed based on gravity-flow system. The network comprises the trunk sewer, the secondary sewer and the tertiary sewer,” explained Lau.

Package I of the project was undertaken by the Kumpulan-Nishimatsu-Hock Seng Lee Consortium, which would also handle Package II.

Meanwhile for Miri city, Lau said works on the sewerage system there had been awarded to Hock Seng Lee Bhd, at a cost of RM428 million.

He said RM333 million would go towards constructing the sewerage system for Miri Business District while the remaining RM95 million would be utilised for the centralised sewage treatment plant in Tudan.

Additionally, Lau disclosed that his department would move from the current office at Wisma Saberkas here to the new premises at the former Zecon Toll Plaza headquarters by the end of this month.