Palembang builds wastewater treatment plant to reduce pollution


A bulk freighter carrying coal cruises on the Musi River in Palembang, South Sumatra.- Antara/JP

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/ANN): The Palembang administration in South Sumatra has kicked off the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant in an effort to reduce water pollution in the region, particularly along its famous but heavily polluted Musi River.

The Rp 1.2 trillion (US$82.8 million) project, which was made possible through a consortium of PT Pembangunan Perumahan and Australia’s McConnell Dowell, is expected to benefit the region’s roughly 100,000 residents amid concerns over the possible health risks inherent in the waters along the local river.

Palembang Mayor Harnojoyo said the city’s population had always relied heavily on the Musi River for their daily needs, including sanitation. However, the river had become increasingly polluted over the years as people continued to dispose of their trash along the stream, he said.

“It is important that we ensure a clean primary water source, ” Harnojoyo said during the groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday (Nov 4), adding that 70 per cent of residents had access to sanitation facilities.

Australian chargé d’affaires to Indonesia, Alison Duncan, conveyed her enthusiasm for the project, saying that she expected the treatment plant to improve locals’ quality of life, particularly with regard to access to clean water and sanitation.

“Australia is proud to have collaborated with Indonesia and the city of Palembang to fund this vital project, ” Duncan said.

Danis Sumadilaga, the head of the Public Works and Housing Ministry’s public buildings, planning and land directorate general Cipta Karya, said the central government had taken notice of the rapid development in Palembang and therefore saw the region fit for a wastewater treatment pilot project.

He went on to say that the government would soon also ensure access to clean water and sanitation in a number of other regions

“There will be a similar project in Jakarta, as well as in [other regions] in Sumatra and Kalimantan, ” Danis said.

The wastewater treatment plant is expected to start operating in early 2022 with a maximum capacity of 200,000 cubic metres of water per day. - The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network.

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