Plans are Changing in Alaminos after A Visit to Udonthani

Plans are Changing in Alaminos after A Visit to Udonthani
09/09/2011

Thailand

From 5 - 8 September, eight members from the Alaminos city council in the Philippines, led by the mayor, visited their best practice model city, Udonthani in Thailand, to learn how a wetland for wastewater treatment could be constructed.

After several months of having prepared the implementation of the replication, the delegates were excited to meet their counterparts in Thailand and were indeed warmly welcomed by the mayor of Udonthani and several city officials. An initial meeting to give some background to the project was followed by site visits and talks with the city cooperative, carrying out the wastewater treatment. Chats with members of the community involved in farming on the banks of the canal, rounded off the trip.

The delegation felt that their stay had been most informative and  the visitors were reassured that they were on the right track: constructed wetland was indeed easy to design with low maintenance costs, therefore not needing a large budget. A natural process is used to treat the wastewater, i.e. it was environmentally friendly. To their relief, the delegates concluded that this best practice example would be easy to implement, as long as some basic preconditions were in place: popular support from the community and an integration into other environmental initiatives and legislation.

However, the trip resulted in the members of the delegation deciding to not completely abandon, but certainly to postpone the originally planned replication, and to start afresh with a pilot project closely resembling the actual design of the Thai best practice model. This means that Alaminos city will improve its canal system which has wastewater in it, channel this wastewater into a series of ponds for natural wastewater treatment before releasing the water back to the canal system that will ultimately drain into the waters into the Hundred Islands National Park. Meanwhile, the more capital intensive coastal constructed wetland earlier proposed in Barangay Lucap will be undertaken sometime in the future.

It is quite rare that a study trip leads to such a dramatic change in the city's activities, and the group from Alaminos was very pleased indeed to have paid the visit and be inspired by the best practice in a way that they had not foreseen!