With the commissioning of an automated water treatment plant last month, residents of Trashigang town now have clean drinking water.

Although the installation work of the 2.4-million-litre-per-day (MLD) capacity plant at Melphey was completed in the last fiscal year, the plant was officially inaugurated on September 26.

The water treatment plant consists of four filtration tanks (two primary and two secondary tanks) that filter water at the rate of 100,000 litres per hour.

Water from the two sources – Rangshikhar and Phobla – is collected at the raw water tank that has a capacity of 250,000 litres. The raw water is then pumped into the filtration tanks where the treatment processes such as flocculation, sedimentation, filtration, and disinfection take place.

After the treatment, the water is channelled into the clean water tank for distribution.

Officials from the dzongkhag municipal office said that the existing filtration technique, the slow sand filtration, that began as a pilot project in the 1980s, failed to provide safe drinking water to the public.

During monsoon the quality of water worsened. Officials said that upon the recommendations from specialists at the water and sanitation division with the works and human settlement ministry, the office opted for the new filtration technology for the dzongkhag.

The same water filtration technology is being used in Wangdue and Trongsa.

One of the hoteliers near Trashigang hospital said that after the installation of the treatment plant, quality of tap water has improved drastically.

“We used to collect tap water in a bucket and wait for the dirt to settle before we could use it,” she said. “But now we can directly use the water from the tap. The water is so clear that I think we can drink it straightaway from the tap.”

Some 390 households in the town and Melphey area in Trashigang will benefit with the installation of the plant.

The plant was built by Sangsel Eco Trade and Environmental Services, which will also train the municipal staff on the operation and maintenance of the plant over the next six months. The Thimphu-based company has tied up with a foreign company, Euro Water, that was responsible for design and manufacturing.

The project was implemented at a cost of Nu 28.639 million.

Younten Tshedup |  Trashigang