Sewage disposal threatens city’s water supply

Ho Chi Minh City has discovered that many enterprises discharge untreated sewage into Saigon River and contaminate the water supply of many households in the city.

A city’s canal day by day brings polluted sewage to Saigon River (Photo: Minh Tri)

The Saigon Water Corporation or Sawaco, the main water supplier to the city’s households and companies, has continually informed the government about this happening matter.

The HCMC Department of Natural Resources and Environment looked into the alarming issue and brought lots of law-breaking companies into light.

Many were caught red-handed not have the sewage treatment systems while the others equipped with these systems failed to remove the contaminants.

Some enterprises, namely Pham Thu Company, White Palace Convention Center and Tan Vinh Phat Company, have been penalized for their untreated sewage disposal earlier, but they have continued to make the same mistakes again. 

The reason for this law disobedience is from the insufficient methods to deal with this problem, say local authorities.

The existing investigations focus solely on some certain enterprises although there are lots of inspection teams. The penalties are handed down but local authorities’ coercions are not thoroughly carried out.   

The statistics show that these companies dispose to the surrounding environment roughly 100-1,000 cubic meters of harmful sewage per day.

This untreated sewage contains organic compounds and heavy metals which is brought through the canals to Saigon River and pollutes the water supply of the city.

The quality of water in Saigon River is very poor and unfit for providing to the citizens as the pollution rate in this water supply is now rapidly shooting up, say enviroment experts.
Sawaco said that the company will think of moving the water treatment plant out of the polluted area or improving their current plant with more advanced technology. This considerable change will unexpectedly push up the cost of supplied water.

Nguyen Van Phuoc, the Deputy Director of the city’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment, stated that the upcoming investigations and penalties on the harmful sewage disposal will be undertaken more thoroughly and seriously.

The department’s officials and local authorities are talking over the issue and trying to find out the most suitable coercions for the law-breaking enterprises. They hope this plan will help solve the existing problems soon.

By Ai Van – Translated by Huu Duy

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