Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC) admitted to the sewer overflow at the Malakal Treatment Plant as well as the violation citations issued them by Koror State Government and Palau Environmental Quality Protection Board (EQPB) and says they are working to resolve the problem.
Last week, sewage overflowing at the Malakal Treatment Plant was noticed by the public as the stinking dark sludge was flowing out unto the ditch and the road. The stench was hard to miss and videos and pictures of sewage sludge were passed on all over the internet, prompting Koror State Government to issue citation to PPUC.
Clogging of one of the pipes at the treatment plant is blamed for the overflow of sewage. “The age and the deteriorating system has caused the filter media to clog the pipe, making it harder for the flow to pass through the system,” stated PPUC’s press release.
As a solution, PPUC said that they’ve installed another pump to pump the sewage from the trickling filter to one of the ponds. Meanwhile, they continue to seek other solutions until the new sewer system is in place.
PPUC has been grappling with sewer problems especially in the last couple of weeks of heavy rains with overflowing sewage from manholes around Koror and now from Malakal Treatment Plant. Exacerbating the matter is the yet-to-be completed Koror-Airai Sanitation Project (KASP) which was supposed to have been done by now.
KASP, a sanitation project funded by Asian Development Bank, was to replace the aging sewer distribution lines, add more pipes in populated areas, add newer pump stations and build new sewer treatment plant to address growing demand.
The project, two-third of which was slated to be completed last year, is enmeshed in legal and managerial issues with no clear timeline for completion.