Construction Work Leads to Sewage Overflow in Capital

Phnom Penh residents in sections of Chamkar Mon district were greeted Tuesday morning by streets clogged with black sludge after overnight rains caused sew­age to overflow into the streets.

The foul-smelling spillage was caused by work being done on a sewage canal on the west side of the city, which is being renovated by a private company in order to better handle waste run-off in the future, said Nouv Saroeun, chief of the municipal drainage and sewage authority.

The company blocked four drainage channels running into the main sewage canal, raising sewage levels under the streets 30 cm to 40 cm higher than usual.

Heavy rain Monday night sent sewage spilling into the streets in some low-lying areas of the city, Nouv Saroeun said. The municipality had to ask the company to reopen the drainage channels early Tuesday morning, he said.

The sewage levels eventually fell, but not before sewage had spread through the streets and onto the sidewalks of the affected areas.

Residents along the streets said Tues­day they were angered by the sewage, but had become ac­customed to overflows in the street.

The affected area, mostly south of Sihanouk Boulevard and east of Monivong Boulevard, often floods during the rainy season. The streets are often filled with muddy waters that flow like rivers.

“It’s the same every year,” said Neang Mom, 45, who was keeping a stagnant black pond away from her sidewalk on Street 63 Tuesday afternoon with a hose and straw broom. “I don’t know where to complain to.”

“I woke up at 3 am to clean it up,” she said, adding she had only taken a lunch break and had worked through the afternoon with neighbors to clean her house and the surrounding sidewalk.


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