Oceanor to watch Chao Phraya River

Six land based water quality monitoring stations and one mobile unit will this spring be set up along the banks of the Chao Phraya River by a consortium led by the Norwegian company, Oceanor-Oceanographic Company of Norway ASA.
      The project, called Metropole Watch, is the first attempt within the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration area to continuously monitor the water quality and pollution levels of the river.
      A new company was incorporated owned jointly by Oceanor Thailand, Oceanor in Norway and Ensys – a Norwegian company with know how in Geographical Information systems owned by the Danish COWI Consult.
      “With this consortium we are now fully ready to diversify our activity from sea water to fresh water while at the same time remaining within our main competence area,” explains Prof. Dr. Twesukdi Piyakarnchana, Managing Director of Oceanor (Thailand) Co., Ltd.
      Oceanor’s first assignment in Thailand was the Seawatch project which started in 1991 in the Gulf of Thailand funded by a soft loan from the Norwegian Government. The project is still ongoing, providing much needed data of the state of the waters in the Gulf of Thailand.
      The newly formed consortium last year approached the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and suggested establishing a water quality monitoring system along the Chao Phraya River within the BMA’s area of jurisdiction. BMA approved the project, and late last year a contract was signed.
      Phase I of this Metropole Watch project is to establish monitoring stations along the river to study the water quality in the Chao Phraya from where the river leaves Nonthaburi prinvince and to where it enters Samutprakarn province and provide the BMA with the analyzed data.
      Six monitoring stations are currently being installed on the banks of the river. One mobile similar station is being installed in a container which makes it possible to move it to any specific trouble spot along the river in case of a spill of chemical substances, oil or just a general concern with discharge from a specific canal.
      All six stations will be in place by April or May this year. Then they will be tested until August and by that time, the whole Metropole Watch project will be handed over to the BMA. Officers from the BMA will receive the necessary training both in Thailand and in Norway in analyzing the data and managing the system.
      Ensys, the third partner in the new Oceanor-OTC Consortium in Thailand, has already staff deployed at the BMA center at Din Daeng where they are setting up the necessary computer programs and training the officers in interpreting the data, which will be transmitted via telephone line to the BMA 2 office in Din Daeng.
      The system offers BMA a map based user interface capable of storing, retrieving and presenting the data in various forms. Especially the content of heavy metals like Chromium, Cadmium, Lead, Zinc and Magnesium is of major concern as these substances might later enter the food chain.
      “When Phase I is completed, the BMA will be able to monitor the extent of the pollution in the river and its development over time, seasonal variations, etc. But the stretch we are surveying is quite short,” Prof. Dr. Twesukdi explains.
      “If we really want to know the full picture in order to be able to combat the current pollution, the surveillance should be extended.”
      “Therefore, we intend to offer to expand the Metropole Watch project into some of the major canals and establish similar monitoring stations there as well as move downstream into Samutprakarn Province and upstream into Nonthaburi Privince.”
      At this point there is, however, no decision as to whether this offer will be accepted by the BMA and the adjacent provincial authorities.

About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

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