JAMES DONISON FROM THE TOWN OF HOOKSETT, NH SHARES HIS EXPERIENCE IN CAMBODIA ON YSEALI RECIPROCAL EXCHANGE

YSEALI U.S. Fellow Summer 2017 Cohort:

Arrived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia late on Saturday August 5, 2017 after a 25 hr. flight from New Hampshire via Atlanta, Georgia and Seoul, South Korea.  The hotel is right on the “Riverwalk” along the Tonle Sap (river) at the confluence of the Mekong River – beautiful location and great for walking.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

First day in Phnom Penh was a “free day” and sponsor Chandath HIM, who is the Deputy Director, Department of Water Quality Management with the Cambodia Ministry of Environment, drove me around to see the sights of the city and rural country side.  The traffic is quite heavy with many small motorcycles and Tuk Tuk’s (wagons pulled by small motorcycles). After lunch along the river in a hut, we had the opportunity to pick up some local fruits from farm stands including coconuts and also visited a modern mall (talk about extremes).

Monday, August 7, 2017

Visited Cambodia Ministry of Environment office (white building below) and met staff of the Water Quality Management Department who are responsible to regulate wastewater discharges from industries and cities for all 24 provinces and the City of Phnom Penh.  The total staff of the Phnom Penh office is 600 and country wide the staff is 1500.

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·        Reviewed a report prepared by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the Department of Public Works and Transport, Phnom Penh Capital City titled “The Study on Drainage and Sewerage Improvements Project in Phnom Penh Metropolitan Area” dated 12/2106.

·      Met with United States Embassy personnel (Monica Davis, Cultural Affairs Officer and Po Eng., Information Resource Specialist, Public Affairs Section) and discussed itinerary (picture in front of embassy).

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Met with the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority staff and director and toured one of the PPWA’s water treatment plants (WTP).  The PPWA supplies water to approximately 3.0M people in the metropolitan area and has the capability to provide over 550,000 cubic meters per day (145 million gallons per day) , which is a lot! And is privately managed with shareholders and has a staff of 1,000. Their water sources are the Tonle Sap River, Mekong River and the Bassac River.  They have over 2,300 km of water mains throughout the city (1,500 miles).  The main WTP we toured was a traditional conventional coagulation, sedimentation, rapid sand filter, chlorination treatment system that would be found throughout the USA.  Water quality meets the World Health Organization Drinking Water Standards.

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JICA has contributed to many of the upgrades to the WTF including new pumps, lab equipment and a new Solar Panel system which results in the facility having a negative carbon footprint.

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Visited the Cambodia National Museum, which has many national historic artifacts.

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Met with the City of Phnom Penh Environment Department who is responsible to oversee solid waste, hazardous waste, liquid waste and air resources for the City.  The Department has a staff of 68 and consists of 7 offices throughout the City.  Afterwards had Chinese Noodles at Chandath’s local favorite restaurant.  Pictures of traffic and neighborhood buildings and vendors are typical of the City.

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

We were schedule to visit with staff of the City of Phnom Penh Department of Public Works and Transport (DPW&T). As is the requirement in Cambodia, an agency must write a letter requesting approval from another agency and approval must be granted.  Although the letter was send, the DPW&T did not acknowledge the letter and we were unable to meet with the department even though we ventured on a long trip to their department.  These are a few pictures of the department include a new unused excavator donated by Japan.

In the early evening I ventured on a ferry crossing the Mekong River to a local village.  Signs for the Cambodia Peoples Party are very frequent.  In contract, the later pictures are of the skyline in Phnom Penh showing the new Chinese investment which is occurring.

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Visited the both natural wastewater treatment wetlands for the City of Phnom Penh.  The City has drainage pipes and open drainage channels which sewage from the huses and businesses discharge to.  There presently are no wastewater tretment facilities, except for the natural wetlands. As part of the JICA report it is their recommendation that a $0.6 to 1.0B in wastewater treatment facilities be constructed as part of a masterplan through year 2035.  The first pictures are of the Tamok Lake treatment system and drainage/wastewater pump station – note the people swimming and fishing and living anong the river.  The second pictures are of the Cheung Aek Lake treatment system and drainage/pump station and conveyance channels – note the adjacent homes and businesses.  Awareness of the wastewater situation and sanitation if not a first priority here.

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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Free day and after shopping at the local “Russian Market” which is a maze of vendons, visited the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh which was the secret center of a netowrk of nearly 200 prisons throughout Cambodia where people were tortured by the Khmer Rouge during their reign from 1975 to 1979. Between 12,000-20,000 people were imprisoned at this site with only 12 confirmed survivors.  Between 2-3M people of approximately 25% of the Cambodian population died under the brutal Khmer Rouge.

Saturday, August 13, 2017

Attended a local fellowship to worship, enjoyed the worship service and met many local NGO’s (non-governmental organization) who are in Cambodia serving and who attend the church.

Afterwards joined Chandath to enjoy his favorite short, Cambodian boxing hosted at the local TV station, Cambodia Broadcasting Center, followed by a visit to Wat Phnom which is a Buddhist temple built in the 1300’s, which is adjacent to the US Embassy.  Afterwards has Cambodian Pizza for dinner and drank water on the sky deck of the 23rd floor of the Prudential Center building with views of the city at night.

And to close, my favorite sign that I have seen so far in Cambodia is (words of wisdon to live by!):

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James Donison, Assistant Public Works Director/Town Engineer

Town of Hooksett, NH

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