City grapples with South Pattaya canal encroachments and wastewater issues

Neglect of the South Pattaya canal has led to illegal constructions and untreated wastewater discharge, prompting Pattaya City to reclaim land and demolish structures.

PATTAYA, Thailand – On June 21, Deputy Mayor Manot Nongyai addressed the ongoing delays in resolving the issue of buildings encroaching along the South Pattaya Canal. This canal is crucial for flood management, directing water flow to the Nongyai Treatment Plant pumping station where water is treated before being safely discharged into the sea.

He said, “For decades, the canal has been neglected, leading to illegal constructions and direct discharge of untreated wastewater into the public waterway. These actions are against the law, prompting Pattaya City to reclaim public land and address these issues. Several illegal structures have already been demolished.”

Regarding the encroaching buildings, Manot mentioned that there are 2-3 cases where inspections have been ordered, and building owners have been notified to make corrections. Two unauthorized steel bridges have been identified: one, built long ago and currently under appeal, and another, recently constructed, for which demolition has been ordered.

Overflow from Pattaya’s wastewater system during repairs led to a mix of untreated water and rainwater, creating murky conditions along the South Pattaya canal leading to the Bali Hai Beach.

Additionally, there are issues with a row of buildings near a bridge, where construction permits were obtained, but the construction did not comply with regulations. Pattaya City has requested the operators to discuss the discrepancies and ensure that the construction aligns with the approved plans. Further inspections have confirmed that adjustments are necessary to rectify these issues.

Manot also addressed the recent issue of black, sediment-filled water spreading across Pattaya Beach, traced back to a wastewater treatment failure at the South Pattaya pumping station. This incident sparked rumours of an oil spill from a ship, but the primary cause was the malfunctioning wastewater treatment facility in South Pattaya.

The facility was built to pump wastewater to the treatment plant in Soi Nongyai. However, due to cracked and broken pipes, Pattaya City was unable to transport the wastewater for treatment. In response, a team of city engineers has been dispatched to inspect and repair the pipes. This required shutting down the pipeline to the Nongyai treatment plant for approximately three hours.

During the repair period, heavy rainfall caused an overflow, resulting in a significant amount of untreated water being discharged into the sea. Pattaya’s wastewater system combines both sewage and rainwater in a single pipe. The excessive rainfall led to the overflow, causing a mixture of approximately 40% untreated wastewater and rainwater to spill into the sea. This created an unsightly spread of murky, black water along the coast, reaching Bali Hai Beach.

Pattaya City expedited the repairs to the broken pipeline. City officials have also ordered a long-term solution to prevent future occurrences. This includes a comprehensive inspection of the aging pipeline that leads to the Nongyai treatment plant and implementing preventive measures. The city engineering department has been tasked with adding supplementary pipelines and identifying vulnerable points in the current system. Currently, there are no backup pipes, so any damage requires halting the wastewater transport, risking repeat incidents.