HCMC wastewater treatment sector expected to draw investors

Many investors are expected to pour capital into the wastewater treatment sector in HCMC as the municipal government is working on incentives for enterprises in this sector.

The city plans to develop 11 wastewater treatment facilities with a total capacity of nearly 1.9 million cubic meters a day by 2020 and more than three million cubic meters by 2030 to treat household wastewater in the city.

However, only Binh Hung and Binh Hung Hoa plants have been built with a respective daily capacity of 141,000 and 30,000 cubic meters.

But the landscape is expected to change.

A consortium comprising Lotte E&C, Huvis Water and Honor Shine Global has proposed investing in wastewater treatment facilities in the city with a combined capacity of more than 650,000 cubic meters a day. The investors plan to integrate three current plants of Tan Hoa-Lo Gom, Saigon West and Binh Tan into a new wastewater treatment system.

The project to be developed under the form of build-lease-transfer (BLT) would require about US$350 million in the first phase and US$132 million in the second phase. The first phase is expected for completion by 2020 with a treatment capacity of 450,000 cubic meters.

An environment expert on July 20 told the Daily that foreign enterprises at the moment are not willing to invest in wastewater treatment due to risks of capital recovery. Therefore, the city authorities should have clear pricing policy for wastewater drainage and treatment services.

According to Decree No. 80/2014/ND-CP on wastewater drainage and treatment, polluters must pay for pollution treatment and the income from wastewater drainage and treatment services must step by step cover the cost of drainage services.

On Tuesday, the city government issued a plan aimed at wooing private investors into the city’s wastewater treatment sector in 2017-2020. Accordingly, the city will renew its policies and mechanisms to encourage individuals and organizations to protect the environment by collecting, reusing, recycling and treating waste.

The city will also launch an appropriate roadmap to revise up environmental protection fees for household wastewater treatment services.

A representative of the Steering Center for the Urban Flood Control Program told the Daily that the center is drawing up a draft plan on charges for wastewater services and will send it to the city government this year.

The charges will depend on the amount of household wastewater but specific charges remain unknown.

Environment experts said that if capital recovery is ensured, enterprises would invest in the sector and the plan to build seven wastewater treatment plants with a total capacity of 1.6 million cubic meters a day by 2020 can be implemented.

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