The Samut Prakarn Wastewater Management project is designed to serve as the hub of all wastes generated by industries, commercial and residential groups in the Samut Prakarn province. Aside from the central treatment plant on the east and west side of the province, the project entails the installation of collection and discharge pipelines that would serve as the conduit to the industries and the treatment plants. The treated waste would then be released into the Gulf of Thailand. Controversy erupted when construction began on a different site, away from the original sites identified in the studies. The residents of Klong Dan had no idea that their area would now be housing just one wastewater treatment plant until construction was in full swing. Project information was difficult to obtain, as both the ADB and the Thai Government’s Pollution Control Department (PCD) was tight-lipped on the issue. The concerned villagers had to go through various institutions just to understand the basics of the plant and its direct impact on their livelihood. Central to what the villagers came to know was the fact that the project in Klong Dan has neither environmental nor social assessment studies. Klong Dan was not part of the many option areas that were identified by the initial studies.
The wastewater plant is a big issue for the Klong Dan villagers as they largely depend on the fertility of the Gulf of Thailand and its tributaries. The Gulf is home to many shrimp, mussel, and fish farms. From information obtained outside the financing institutions, the plant doesn’t have the capacity to treat wastewater that is heavy on phosphorous, nitrogen, bacteria, and heavy metals. The immediate impact would just be to contribute to the pollution of the gulf. Moreover, water where the project is situated exhibits a circular motion hence, these toxins will not be fully flushed out of the gulf. Releasing the treated water into the gulf would also reduce the salinity of the water that would drastically affect the mussel and fish farms. Apart from these effects, the adverse impacts of the project on the villagers’ health are also noted. On the other hand, the villagers were never consulted.