Khounkham District, September 23, 2016    

The Theun-Hinboun Power Company (THPC) has handed over a landfill site for disposal of public waste to authorities in Khounkham District, Khammouane Province, as part of its commitment to community development and environmental protection.

Mr Thavone Keokhamphanh, Deputy District Governor of Khounkham, officially accepted the facility for public ownership, saying the landfill was a valuable community asset.

The facility was built on public land leased to THPC in 2009 with two purposes: to receive waste from construction of the Theun-Hinboun Expansion Project, and to provide a solution to the growing amount of rubbish generated by Khounkham town and surrounding villages, which increased significantly in size following the development of the Theun-Hinboun power plants.

The expansion project was completed in late 2012 and since then THPC has managed the landfill site for public use, instituting recycling projects and training local staff how to run the facility. Any hazardous waste from THPC’s operations, such as engine oil or batteries, has been stored separately from the landfill pits, or passed to specialist contractors for recycling or safe disposal.

Ms Vongchanh Indavong, THPC’s Senior Environment and Commercial Manager, said the facility had been designed to international standards at a cost of around US$150,000. It is lined with geotextiles to minimise seepage of pollutants into the environment and equipped with a series of ponds that store and treat runoff water from the pit area. Ms Vongchanh said the current pit at the landfill could take local rubbish for several more years, depending on how much waste can be recycled. Further pits could also be installed at the site.

Khounkham’s District Office for Natural Resources and the Environment has made an agreement with a local recycling company, which will operate the landfill under contract and use revenue from recycling local rubbish to cover the costs of managing the facility. THPC has meanwhile agreed to continue monitoring wastewater quality at the site for a further year after the handover and will provide district staff with additional training on waste management.

The company has also constructed landfill facilities in three resettlement villages in the Theun-Hinboun project area and is working with communities to improve waste management and increase recycling.

Speaking after the transfer of ownership documents at the Theun-Hinboun site in the district, Mr Thavone said that Khounkham was fortunate THPC had provided so much investment in infrastructure and in villages across the district. Earlier this year the company handed over schools and health centres built for relocated villages along the Hinboun River, and has also invested in roads, irrigation schemes and water and electricity supplies.              

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THPC constructed the landfill pit and water treatment ponds in 2009, and has operated the site for the use of the whole district, handing it over to public ownership in September 2016.

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