Many developing Asian countries face unique challenges delivering quality wastewater services. In an effort to mentor these communities, a team of WTD employees participated in information sharing with a growing utility called URENCO in Dong Hoi, Vietnam. The collaboration was sponsored by the Asian Development Bank, which covered expenses for the trip.
After visiting Vietnam, Dave Jurgens, reliability engineer, realized it’s not only an infrastructure challenge, but also one of culture. “The treatment plant is within a river delta with a lot of farmland. Waste is conveyed primarily from Dong Hoi, a fishing town of about 120,000 people,” he said.
“With just 10 percent of sewage being treated throughout the country, public awareness and regulatory oversight is still being developed. Programs like these are even more important in a region whose economy relies heavily on environmental resources… where sewer overflows can literally be within 100 feet of commercial shrimping nets.”
This partnership will give URENCO a chance to learn from our asset management and maintenance programs. They are starting from the beginning –numbering and naming equipment, and collecting data to be better prepared as they expand.
“The trip reinforced the value of our own programs,” Liz Gaskill, South Satellite construction supervisor, explained while reflecting on the visit. “For example, WTD has community outreach and education, which helps people understand the value of our work and give input to our projects. That’s valuable.”
Representatives from Dong Hoi toured our facilities this spring, giving them a chance to see the scale of our infrastructure, advances in technology, and our beautiful environment which we strive to protect.
“I think it was a really good experience for them,” Liz continued. “Eye opening. They have a system in place, and it’s working great. Now they have the tools to look at the future and manage their assets.”
Learn more about the Water Operators Partnership here: https://www.adb.org/publications/water-operators-partnership-program