Polluted Phong river being flushed clean

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Khon Kaen governor Somsak Jangtrakul briefs reporters on steps being taken to clean up the pollution in the Phong river. (Photo: Chakrapan Natanri)

KHON KAEN: More water will be discharged from Ubol Ratana dam to help clean the polluted, smelly Phong river, governor Somsak Jangtrakul said on Tuesday.

Mr Somsak was speaking after an urgent meeting of the provincial water management committee to discuss the pollution in the Phong river, which is giving off a foul odour and is unusually murky.

He said the unpleasant smell was caused by a high content of hydrogen sulphide, which gives off a rotten egg smell, in the water between the dam and the Nong Wai weir.

The water management committee was taking steps to increase the oxygen content and accelerate the flow of water, to reduce the pollution.

“Today, I issued an order for Ubol Ratana dam to increase its discharge into the river from 300,000 cubic metres to 500,000 cubic metres per day.

“During the long drought, water in the river became stagnant with an accumulation of sediment and decayed organic waste. When the rain came this rotted and produced bad smells,” Mr Somsak said..

“It is quite certain that the pollution was not caused by industrial plants in the area.”

The governor said two propellor pumps had been installed to accelerate the river’s flow and 11 Chaipattana aerators to increase oxygen levels in the water.

With more water being discharged from Ubol Ratana dam, it was hoped the water quality downstream would improve in about 10 days, he said.

Mr Somsak said he had instructed the provincial industrial office and the Region 10 Environment Office to check all factories along the Phong river, and make sure they are not discharging waste into the water.