Island Times: Thank you for your time. We will go straight to the point so Anthony, can you take us through the Koror-Airai Sanitation Project one more time and clarify where we are in the process and when can we expect this project to be completed? There has been so much information, half-truths, allegations, misinformation and so on floating around and the public is no longer sure of anything related to the project.
Anthony: The Koror-Airai Sanitation Project was bid out in three (3) separate packages. These are known as ICB1, ICB2 and ICB3. ICB1 consists of 2 pump stations, one at CIP and one in Malakal near the turn to the port. It also included distribution line from CIP to Malakal Treatment Plant.
Island Times: What is the status of ICB1?
Anthony: ICB1 was awarded to Progetti company. The concrete base and facility for the two pump stations have been completed but no pumps have been installed. Distribution lines from CIP to the base Minato-bashi bridge have been installed. From the other side of Minato-bashi on the causeway to Malakal has also been installed. No distribution line has been installed on the Minato-bashi bridge.
The project was nearly 80% completed but PPUC had to terminate the contract due to long delay by the contractor. We tried as long as we can to give them more time but lack of performance forced us to terminate them in October of 2019. They also failed to renew security insurance for the project.
We are now finalizing the payment certificate for them which would include payment for local subcontractors that Progetti owes for the project.
We are also negotiating with other contractors to complete the ICB1.
Island Times: Do you have funds for this?
Anthony: Yes. We have the 10% retainage plus funds for uncompleted work that we can use for that.
Island Times: What is the timeline for the completion of ICB1?
Anthony: I can’t say for sure at this time because we are still negotiating with other contractors.
Island Times: And for ICB2?
Anthony: ICB2 was awarded to PEP and it includes distribution lines from Meketii to CIP and Madalaii to Meyuns . This project is over 90% complete.
Island Times: It has been said that the project is being corrected by another company. Is this true?
Anthony: No that information is not true. When PPUC acquired the monitoring system and install it in distribution lines, we were able to see problems that contractor had missed and we are having them correct those problems at their own expense.
Island Times: What will happen after they complete this ICB2 project, as you say is over 90% complete already?
Anthony: They will connect to ICB1 but it will not be operational until ICB1 is completed.
Island Times: What about ICB3?
Anthony: ICB3 was awarded to PEP too and it is the new treatment plant in Malakal.
Island Times: When is the treatment plan expected to start?
Anthony: Construction of the new treatment plant have started already and it is nearly 50% completed.
Island Times: Is this new sewer treatment plant different from the current one being used?
Anthony: Yes it is different. It will not require the ponds anymore and the waste will be treated in a closed system.
Island Times: Once the plant is completed, how long before it can be used?
Anthony: It will require sometime first to test the system and also will require sometime to grow the necessary bacteria within the system that will help to breakdown the waste.
Island Times: But if ICB1 is not completed by the time the treatment plant is completed, what will happen?
Anthony: There are plans to retrofit the existing sewer lines and connect it to the new plant while we work to complete the ICB1.
Island Times: What will happen to the ponds and old sewer treatment plant once the new plant is in place?
Anthony: The old treatment plant will be decommissioned and the ponds will be drained. Plans on what to do with the area once the plant is removed is still to be made. The new system will be out of sight, up above the site of the existing plant.
Island Times: What else is being done with the system that people may not know about?
Anthony: Starting this May a new assessment will be conducted on the outfall pipe from Icebox to the ocean. We will update the old study that was done on that, check any leaks on the pipe but more important, we will be looking at how big of an area the outfall from the pipe affect before it is diluted and to look at how to mitigate that impact of the outflow.
IT: Thank you Anthony for the update!
Anthony Rudimch is a civil engineer employee of the Palau Public Utilities Corporation overseeing the Koror-Airai Sanitation Project, an ADB loan funded project aimed at improving the quality of life by improving public sanitation and health.