The one at Babesa cannot handle the growing waste  in Thimphu

Sewage: Should everything go well, residents of Babesa and Olakha might soon be able to enjoy fresh air without ranting about the stink from the sewerage tank they have been living with to date.

That’s is because Thimphu thromde has called for a technical proposal to design, construct and operate a new wastewater treatment plant in Babesa, beside the existing one.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved USD 25M for building wastewater treatment plant for Thimphu, Phuntsholing and Samdrupjongkhar thromde.

With a capacity of 12MLD (million liter a day) the new plant at Babesa will be ten-folds bigger than the existing 1.75MLD sewerage open ponds.

Thimphu thromde’s ADB project manager, Kinley Penjore said the new treatment plant would be a mechanised in-house treatment plant and not open like the existing ones.

“The existing ponds has limited capacity and can no more handle the growing waste in Thimphu,” he said. “It’ll be decomposed once the new one is ready.”

He added that the new plant would have huge operation costs because of it having to run on electricity. The contractor who will design and built the plant in 30 months will also operate it for five years.

This is the thromde’s second attempt to construct a new wastewater treatment plant in Babesa after its earlier attempt in March last year failed.

Kinley Penjore said one of the reasons for coming up with a new plant was because the existing one constructed in early 90s occupies and 12 acre land is not able to the cater to the growing number of buildings in Thimphu.

However, Thimphu thomde does not have data on how many households are connected to the existing wastewater treatment plant. There is also no data available on how many buildings stand in the thromde.

But sewerage line network has already been laid for all buildings of four local area plans (LAP) in South Thimphu and the core town area. It is estimated that there are over 100,000 people settled in these area.

“For the four LAPs, we could only lay sewerage line network but not connect to the existing treatment plant because of its limited capacity,” Kinley Penjore said.

Another reason for the new plant was because of complaints from Babesa residents on the foul smell from the open ponds.

Bidding for the project is open for all eligible ADB member countries. However, a successful bidder is required to register with the Construction Development Board of Bhutan before award of the contract.

By Nirmala Pokhrel