Thu, 11 Mar 1999

City, NSW govt to cooperate on $4b waste water system

JAKARTA (JP): The city administration will cooperate with the New South Wales state government in the construction and management of a large-scale waste water system worth about US$4 billion, an official said.

Head of the Regional Environmental Impact Management Agency (Bapedalda) Prawoto S. Danumihardjo said on Tuesday the Australian state's government would be in charge of chairing a worldwide consortium to finance the project under a sister city program.

It will be called the Jakarta Total Integrated Waste Water and Sewage System.

Without mentioning countries interested in the project, Prawoto said private companies would be allowed to participate.

"So far Thames Water International of Britain has offered to become an operator of the system," he said.

The British company is now involved in managing tap water supplies in the eastern part of the city in cooperation with city-owned water company PDAM Jaya.

Prawoto said the project would be entirely financed by the consortium under a 25-year build-operate-transfer scheme involving city-owned waste water management company PD Pal Jaya.

"The project was also discussed in the fourth Australia- Indonesia Ministerial Forum in Bali from Feb. 23 to Feb. 25 this year," he said.

Construction of the project is expected to start in 2000 with completion in seven years.

Prawoto explained the project was designed to change the current waste water management system, in which waste water was frequently channeled through septic tanks.

"The current system is not environmentally friendly as the tanks only hold the waste, while the water is absorbed by the soil, thereby causing pollution."

Under the new system, all waste water will be channeled through underground pipes to the sea, he added.

Prawoto added that city residents would have to pay rates for the waste water pipe usage.

"It's for the sake of a better environment and getting it is not free of charge," he said.

The foreign consortium will also be allowed to lease the pipes, including for telephone lines, electricity cables or other networks, he said.

Prawoto also said Bapedalda found in its study in the 1997/1998 fiscal year that almost all of the 300 city wells studied in the five mayoralties were heavily polluted due to inadequate septic tanks. (ind)