As part of the itinerary in the 9th World Urban Forum, the Malaysian host had arranged several technical visits over the weekend. I chose “Route 2: Urban Solution and Innovation” to learn more about what Kuala Lumpur has done to provide the basic amenities for its residents. In this route, we embarked on a journey to three destinations namely Pantai 2 Regional Sewage Treatment Plant, Sunway City, and the River of Life. This article would focus on the first site – Pantai 2 Regional Sewage Treatment Plant.
Located in Kampung Pantai, the Pantai 2 Regional Sewage Treatment Plant covers a total of 16.16 hectares. The plant is relatively recent that the project only started in 2011, with the Indah Water freshly starting to manage the plant.The CEO mentioned that the plant was built to change the public’s perspective on sewage treatment.
Picture a sewage treatment plant and what do you imagine?
The common things that came up might be smelly, dirty or even some big stretch of water with purpose you have no idea about.
Now that is the perception the project aims to change. By shifting most of the plant underground (with the condition of sufficient technology), the remaining space above ground is used as community space currently managed by DBKL. Yes, you’ve heard it right, you can jog, play badminton or host your wedding above a sewage plant. I would say this is a rather effective way of using space while placing communities as the center of the planning. Around the plant houses several low-cost housing, which was painted last year in order to reduce their contrast to the newly built plant and public amenities. We were told that the residents were very excited about the eco-park even before the park was ready. As a step to reduce public stigma against effluents from the sewage plant, an effluent river was designed in the middle of the eco-park for people to be aware that effluent is not smelly or dirty.
Public appreciation in the process of water treatment is necessary to bridge the gap between the collection rate and the operational expenditure. Currently, the gap is covered by the government but Indah Water wishes to close the gap by gain public attention on the sewage treatment through community engagement programs in the eco-park.
Besides the community feature, the plant was completed with an efficiency focus. The main administration building is a green building, powered by the solar panels installed on the car park shades and using water from the rainwater harvesting system. Bio-gas generated from the digestion process is being utilized to produce power that will then feed into the plant. Although this energy only makes up to about 10% of the total power consumption, it is great to see that more green technology features are added to the plant. However, solid sludge is still being disposed of off-site. Although it meets industrial requirements, it is still resources lost that could have been better utilized. The plant is currently seeing ways of improving efficiency and reducing wastage.
Why is the technical visit important?
Although the visit is a very brief visit at the site (we didn’t even go in deep on site), it could be a source of inspiration to people who are looking into a more efficient use of resources while providing basic services to the public. It’s time we rethink our sh*t-ing sewage experience.
Written and Media by Xiandi
Edited by Varun