Malakal Sewer Treatment Plan back to normal operation in 4 working days

By: L.N. Reklai

July 25, 2016 (Koror) Bureau of Public Work Director Brian Melairei denied the statements made during the Senate session that BPW interfered with PPUC’s operation and that it discharged “raw sewage” into Malakal Bay.

Calling the statements “political rhetoric”, Director Melairei stated that the Bureau of Public Works was tasked during the last leadership meeting to assist PPUC resolve the overflow problems at the Malakal Sewer Treatment Plant ponds, which they did in 4 working days.


According to Director Melairei, the Malakal Sewer Treatment Plant ponds have been overflowing into the road storm drain and discharged at the storm drain outlet on the sea wall of Ice Box Park for many months.  “Even though the discharged waste matter was treated to the secondary level, the way it was being discharged was not the proper way.  That was the problem that required immediate attention.”

“Due to combination of a collector pipe almost engulfed by sludge, an improperly wired effluent pump and an inoperable recirculation pump, the treated wastewater levels in the ponds rose to overflow level,” reported Melairai.

“We were worried about the structural integrity of the ponds’ embankment berms as evidence leak began to develop on the side slope opposite of the overflow pipe. We were concerned not only with the improper discharge of waste water but also with the pond embankment collapsing due to oversaturation,” he added.

According to Melairei, BPW did its own thorough assessment and “acted with prudence and diligence” and resolved all the technical issues found in their assessment and returned the plant to its originally designed functions.  “Malakal Sewer Treatment Plant operations were brought back to normalcy in 4 working days,” reported Melairei.

The treated waste water that had been stagnant in the ponds began to flow out to the outfall as it should and the water level in the ponds receded. PPUC was advised to continue draining the ponds until the whole collector pipe is exposed so that maintenance work on the clogged pipe can start.

“The political rhetoric that BPW interfered with PPUC operations is incorrect and misleading. At the leadership instruction, BPW went to assist PPUC resolve an ongoing wastewater discharge problem and prevent a catastrophe that would have happened if the pond embankment failed,” reiterated Director Melairei.

The statement that “raw sewage” was dumped into Pristine Paradise from the plant is also declared false.  “There was never a time in BPW’s presence that “raw sewage” was released into Malakal Bay from the plant. All treated wastewater we discharged at the outfall went thru primary oxidation treatment at the primary pond and secondary treatment in one of the two trickling filters.  The MSTP has no by-pass feature that allows for “raw sewage” to reach its outfall without going through the primary and secondary filters,” emphasized BPW Director Brian Melairei.

In last week’s press release, PPUC reported that the Malakal Sewer Treatment Plant ponds have been drained and no longer overflowing as they did before. [/restrict]