22-27 September 2019
Trade Fairs and Congress Center (FYCMA)
Europe/Madrid timezone

Major issues in groundwater and surface water quality in Cambodia and Myanmar

24 Sep 2019, 15:00
Conference room 1.A ()

Conference room 1.A

Oral Topic 8 - Groundwater quality and pollution processes Parallel


Dr Melissa Lenczewski (Northern Illinois University)


Major cities in Cambodia and Myanmar are experiencing rapid growth and development with little regard to groundwater and surface water quality. Studies have been done in Southeast Asia to determine some of the major issues facing the cities with a focus on lack of treated wastewater disposal. In Phnom Penh, Cambodia Boeng Cheung Ek wetland is a large, peri-urban, free water surface, wastewater treatment wetland that services approximately 90% of combined storm water and untreated municipal wastewater from the city. While there are plans to fill in nearly the entire wetland, the construction of a wastewater treatment plant has yet to begin. We hope this research will help inform the sustainable management of wastewater in the city. The objective of this study is to characterize the spatiotemporal variability of contaminants in wetland surface water and determine whether infiltration to groundwater has occurred. The wetlands have been shown to do provide some reduction in water quality parameters but are still contaminating local wells. In Mandalay, Myanmar textile dying and weaving of traditional longyi garments has occurred in the Amarapura Township since 1822, transitioning from natural to chemical dyes in the early 1900’s. With no current wastewater treatment facilities in Mandalay, dye effluent mixes with other wastewaters in unlined canals dug near peoples’ homes and discharge into local rivers and wetlands. As locals rely heavily on dug and tube wells next to the wastewater canals for their drinking, bathing, and cooking, this industry poses a major health hazard to people in this region. The objective of this study is to identify and quantify the concentrations of major ions and heavy metals found in textile dyes effluent and determine the impact on local groundwater resources. Results identified heavy metals in varying concentrations throughout each step of the dyeing process. Textile dying along with wastewater from homes is a major source of pollution and a health hazard to the people within the Amarapura Township, however locals are not readily connecting the dye practices to the issues with their drinking water. Both of these studies highlight the importance wastewater on water quality in the areas and that development needs to be linked to improved wastewater treatment.

Primary authors

Dr Melissa Lenczewski (Northern Illinois University) Mr Sam Mallow (Northern Illinois University) Ms Surya Freeman (Northern Illinois University)

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