Partnership Program Enhances Capacity of Mongolia's Water Utilities

Video | 27 November 2020

The Water Operators Partnership Program in Mongolia complemented ADB-supported projects on wastewater and sludge management and paired public utilities in Uvurkhangai and Bulgan provinces of Mongolia with King County Wastewater Treatment Division from Seattle, USA.

The program has improved capacity of local operators through sharing of expertise and best practices in wastewater treatment plant operation and maintenance, systems monitoring, asset management, and safe sludge handling and reuse.

An innovative feature of the program was community education and engagement activities that aimed at enhancing citizens participation in environment protection by raising understanding about safe sanitation and wastewater treatment processes. These activities also established a good relationship between the communities and service providers.

Transcript

Uvurkhangai, Mongolia. An ADB project is helping Mongolia’s water utilities to partner with world leading counterparts to improve their management practices and upgrade their wastewater treatment facilities.

“We have successfully implemented a two-year partnership program with the King County Wastewater Treatment Division of Seattle, USA. We have jointly organized several public awareness events for over 400 people to raise the community’s engagement and education. Our cooperation under the program’s technical track enhanced the knowledge and skills of the Public Utility Service Organization engineers and technicians,” says Lkhagvasuren Osor, Director of “Ongi Us” Public Utility Service Organization, Uvurkhangai, Mongolia.

“A big piece of the program was also community engagement. Today we brought the kids out, we did a lesson with the kids in the classroom so that they could learn themselves more about their water systems, their wastewater systems, and pass that information on to their families,” Susan Tallarico, Education and Engagement Supervisor of King County Wastewater Treatment Division.

“I never realized how difficult it was to treat the wastewater. I learned that we waste a lot of water when we wash our hands. Now I know how much time and efforts are required to clean wastewater. Today’s lesson was very productive for me,” confirms Bilguun Ganbat, 6th grade student of “Merged” secondary school.

“They are going to be the decision makers in the future. They hopefully will be able to support wastewater and sanitation in Mongolia. The water operator partner program in Arvaikheer has been incredibly successful. The reasons it's been so successful is because it really partnered an infrastructure project, this brand new treatment plant, with the training and mentoring that is required to keep the infrastructure maintained over time,” explains Susan Tallarico, Education and Engagement Supervisor of King County Wastewater Treatment Division.

Building on the success of the Uvurkhangai partnership program, ADB has launched a new program for the wastewater operators in Bulgan province. 

“As part of the partnership program, I visited King County Wastewater Treatment Division to exchange experience. I learned their practices in wastewater treatment plant management, occupational safety, workplace environment, and reuse processes. We will incorporate these best practices into our daily operation,” says Myagmarsuren Battur, Wastewater Engineer of “Bulgan Meej” Public Utility Service Organization.