Japan provides HCM City non-refundable grant of $23.7m to upgrade sewer system

Võ Văn Hoan (front row, right), vice chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee, and Konaka Tetsuo, chief representative of JICA’s Việt Nam office, sign an agreement for a non-refundable grant to upgrade the city’s sewerage system

Ho Chi Minh (HCM) City and the Japanese Government on Friday signed an agreement for non-refundable aid worth JPY1.882 billion (S$23.7 million) to upgrade the city’s existing sewerage system using trenchless technologies.

Trenchless technologies such as boring tunnels and using drive and receptor shafts will add 50 years to the life of the network. They will improve the drainage capacity and load-bearing capacity through the upgrade of ageing drainage and sewer pipes.

The project will take 24 months starting next year, and the work will be done by Japanese companies.

HCM City’s rapid urban growth requires urgent development of environmental infrastructure in tandem with meeting the demands of safe water supply and water environment protection, according to JICA.

The city has made great efforts to build a new sewerage system, including building waste water treatment plants and laying pipes, to improve the water environment, but the work of rehabilitating old sewer pipes laid during French colonial times remains a great challenge, especially in the downtown Districts 1 and 3.

In 2015 JICA funded a project carried out by the Osaka city Department of Construction and Sekisui Chemical to upgrade pipes under the Cống Quỳnh – Nguyễn Cư Trinh roundabout in District 1 using trenchless technologies.

It proved to be efficient since it did not disturb day-to-day activities or the road surface in the traffic-heavy districts.

Of the city’s 2,600km sewer system, 932km of old pipes need constant upgrades. There are some 100km of concrete sewers built during the French era, which are also in urgent need of replacement to prevent flooding.

By reducing the need to dig up the entire length of the sewer, the project will cause fewer road closures and disturbances to the public.

JICA has been helping HCM City improve its wastewater system since 1999 starting with the implementation of a sewage and drainage master plan.

Based on the master plan, the first phase of the HCM City Water Environment Improvement Project in Tàu Hủ – Bến Nghé river basins was carried out in 2017, with a wastewater treatment plant with a daily capacity of 141,000 cubic metres being built and drainage capacity improved in the Tàu Hủ – Bến Nghé canals, and new interceptors and sewer pipes being installed.

The second phase of the project is scheduled to be completed in 2022, with a new wastewater treatment plant with a daily capacity of 330,000 cubic metres being built and interceptors and sewer pipes being laid in the Đôi-Tẻ river basin.

In the second phase, pipe-jacking technology will be used for interceptor construction to minimise traffic interruption in the busy districts 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10.