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Man-made wetlands
Date 14-Dec-2016 | Category | Author Christopher Tan

BATU Ferringhi will see cleaner beaches and less polluted rivers and sea water with the installation of what is believed to be the first ever integrated wetland system in the country; and two specially designed outfall structures at the exit of Sungai Satu and Sungai Batu Ferringhi.

Penang Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Project chairman Chow Kon Yeow said that the objective of the two projects was to improve the water qualities of both the rivers.

State Drainage and Irrigation Department’s (JPS) northeast district engineer Haslinda Mohd Hamran said both the building of the two outfall structures and the 850m-long beach nourishment cost a total of about RM10.85mil.

Haslinda explained that each outfall structure has a culvert that runs along the shore and extends 120m out into the sea, where the river discharge would be released.

(According to Wikipedia, an outfall is the discharge point of a waste stream into a body of water; alternatively it may be the outlet of a river, drain or a sewer where it discharges into the sea, a lake or the like.)

“The outfall structure can solve the problem of sand barrier on the beach that prevents the outflow of river into the sea.

“The sand barrier is a natural phenomenon,” Haslinda said when met at the site near the Kompleks Peranginan Bank Negara in Jalan Teluk Bahang, Batu Ferringhi,yesterday.

She added that the beach nourishment was carried out to prevent beach erosion.

“There will also be pipes connecting the Indah Water Konsortium (IWK) treatment plant in Batu Ferringhi to the outfall in Sungai Batu Ferringhi early next year, for the effluents to be released into the sea,” she said.

The second project, which is the integrated wetland system at Sungai Satu in Batu Ferringhi, includes the ‘Bio-Drain’ structure which costs about RM2.1mil.

Project consultant Assoc Prof Nik Fuaad Nik Abllah said that the ‘Bio-Drain’ was a technology using environmental-friendly microorganisms to feed on the organic content of Sungai Satu.

“About 60% of the river water from the upstream of Sungai Satu would be pumped into the ‘Bio-Drain’ containing microorganisms for treatment.

“After the organic contents in the water have been oxidised, the river water is sent to two wetlands, called Cell A and Cell B, where several species of plants in the Cells will reduce other pollutants such as ammonia, nitrate, phosphorus and other suspended solids.

“The treated river water would then be released back into the river and discharged into the sea via the Sungai Satu outfall,” he said.

Nik Fuaad, a lecturer from Universiti Sains Malaysia’s School of Housing, Building and Planning, said that during dry weather flow, 60% of the river water would be pumped into the ‘Bio-Drain’ structure at a rate of 60L/sec. The river will be more polluted during dry weather flow.

Dry weather flow refers to the wastewater flow in a sewer system during periods of dry weather with minimum infiltration.

“The remaining percentage of the untreated river water would be left to flow through an existing wetland built by a private developer, located some 100m away from the Cell A and B.

“During high flow, the pump will be shut down and the untreated river water will flow into the sea via the outfall of Sungai Satu.

“River water will be less polluted during high flow due to dilution,” he said.

He added that the system started running since Saturday.

Both the projects, which are more than 90% done and scheduled to be completed latest next month, are under the state JPS.

Also present were Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari, Penang JPS director Sabri Abdul Mulok and contractor Atra Padu Sdn Bhd’s managing director Ahmad Rahiza Abd Jalil.

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