Balikpapan Steps Up Program to Improve Access to Proper Sanitation Services

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A lack of sanitation infrastructure to improve public health and environmental conditions and enhance the quality of urban life is a major challenge in many Asian cities.

Balikpapan City in Indonesia is all-too-familiar with this issue, as its existing sewerage and wastewater system only serves 6% of its 768,000 population. Now the city government sought the assistance of CDIA via its partnership with PT Sarana Multi Infrastruktur (SMi) in updating an earlier pre-feasibility study (PFS) concerning wastewater sector investment in order to enhance its technical, financial, institutional, environmental and social impact content.

The original PFS in 2014 was based on a sanitation expansion plan that entailed increasing the capacity of an existing wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in Margasari and building new treatment plants in other parts of the city ( Sepinggan and Somber). These proposals served as take-off points for the updated PFS which was carried out from December 2016 to March 2017.

In this revised PFS, CDIA recommended that the city government proceed with the upgrade of its Margasari Plant as although there is no more space for expansion, the current facility is operating below its design capacity and is only catering to the wastewater needs of 1,512 households . Optimizing its operational efficiency could potentially increase the total number of household connections to 2,222.

In addition, the revised PFS recommended the construction of two new WWTPs in Bendali 1, Sepinggan and KIKS Somber. When implemented, the Sepinggan service area is expected to have 5,000 new household connections while Somber will have 5,500 new household connections.

The revised PFS further showed that while the huge city budget for sanitation could support the investment cost of proposed systems, Balikpapan should augment its financial resources by exploring available grants and financing opportunities from national and international institutions (e.g. debt financing from SMi). Future operating costs can be recovered by introducing a new wastewater tariff system linked to the water bills levied by the local water company (PDAM) which is charged with managing both drinking water provision and wastewater management.

With respect to institutional strengthening, the revised PFS recommended reorganizing the current PDAM structure through setting up a Directorate of Wastewater that would be responsible for all aspects of wastewater management. Furthermore, CDIA recommended the updating of the 2012 Master Plan to reflect new long-term planning options and to incorporate the results of the city’s new spatial, development and sanitation plans.

“The need for sustainable wastewater management cannot be emphasized enough; and CDIA is pleased to have the opportunity to revise and update the earlier Study to make it more responsive to the needs of the city,” said Stuart King, CDIA’s Senior Urban Infrastructure Finance Specialist.

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