Focus Area District

A. Need for Subprojects in Kaysone Phomvihane, Phine, and Dansavanh

1. Kaysone Phomvihane

Kaysone Phomvihane is a border town that serves as a major agricultural processing center and an emerging prime destination for manufacturing industries and business enterprises. Its strategic location across the Mekong River from the town of Mukdahan in Thailand offers considerable opportunities for increased economic activities and investments. With the increasing cross border trading and commercial exchanges, the town is emerging as a
dynamic economic center for public and private sector investments.

The rapid growth in urban population and expansion of the town center generated complex environmental and social challenges. Given limited resources, local authorities are having difficulties addressing the growing demands for essential urban infrastructure and respond to the requirements of an urbanizing local economy.

2. Phine

Phine is a market town located at an important road junction along the EWEC with a bypass road connecting to neighboring towns and provinces. The town center is characterized by a thriving trading and commercial activity for goods and services produced in Savannakhet and those imported from neighboring countries particularly Thailand and Viet Nam. The increasing local economic activities brought about by improved road and transport network
along National Road 9 (NR9) is stimulating local opportunities for gainful employment among local residents and for establishing business enterprises among the private sector. The poor condition of the interior roads, however is adversely affecting socio-economic conditions in the town center. The improvement of the road with the construction of drainage structures will provides convenient access of local residents to social and economic services. It will also mitigate the adverse effects of perennial flooding of the major access road in the town center where majority of the residential houses and commercial establishments are located.

3. Dansavanh

Dansavanh bordering Viet Nam is emerging as a trading center and a prime location for a special economic zone. The town which is within the jurisdiction of the District of Sepone is located along the 20 kilometer (km) stretch of the National Road No. 9 (NR9) leading to the border crossing of the Lao PDR-Viet Nam border. Within a land area of approximately 4,800 hectares (ha), Dansavanh is the site of the special economic zone managed by the Dongsavanh Border Trade Zone Authority (DBTZA).

Similar to Kaysone Phomvihane and Phine the poor conditions of the interior roads parallel to both sides of NR9 are negatively affecting economic development, and overall quality of urban life and business. The improvement and upgrading of the interior roads will offer economic opportunities for the emergence of a new town centers and will decongest the existing crowded town center. The provision of adequate access and mobility are considered essential
measures to cope up with the requirements of increasing economic activities and a growing urban population brought about by the influx of in-migrants from neighbouring provinces and countries like Viet Nam and Thailand.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1. The towns of Kaysone Phomvihane, Phine, and Dansavanh are the three subproject locations for the Corridor Towns Development Project (CTDP) in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). Lao PDR together with Cambodia and Viet Nam form the three target countries of the parent Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Corridor Towns Development Project CTDP (ADB TA 7644-REG). Through infrastructure developments in the three towns the goal of the CTDP is to develop the existing East West Economic Corridor (EWEC) in Lao PDR from a transportation corridor into an economic corridor as part of the overall economic development of the Greater Mekong Sub-region.

2. The initial environmental examination (IEE) of the CTDP subprojects in Lao PDR presented herein consolidates the initial three IEEs that were prepared for each subproject town. The consolidated IEE has been re-formatted and edited pursuant to the requirements of Asian Development Bank’s Safeguards Policy Statement (2009).

A. Project Summary

3. The CTDP in Lao PDR is an ADB Category B project at the feasibility design phase, and is defined by the following subprojects and infrastructure component developments:

Subproject Subproject component

Kaysone Phomvihane,
1) Upgraded solid waste management and sanitary landfill  Decommissioning existing landfill
 Modern landfill technology including leachate collection and treatment system  New compactor trucks
2) Materials recovery facility  Higher volume with modern. efficient technology
3) Wastewater treatment plant and improved drainage  Three, aerobic pond treatment plants
 Stormwater drainage canals  Interceptor pipelines
4) Mekong riverbank protection  Modern slope protection materials and techniques
5) Improved urban roads and drainage  Road widening, lateral drainage, lighting, and signage Phine
6) Improved urban roads and drainage  Road widening, lateral drainage, lighting, and signage Dansavanh
7) Improved urban roads and drainage  Road widening, lateral drainage, lighting, and signage

4. The proposed new sanitary landfill in Kaysone Phomvihane will receive solid waste from the municipality. It will likely contain a liner of clay depending on soil permeability and the overall sensitivity of groundwater. An adjacent leachate treatment facility is planned, along with provision of two new compactor trucks. The quality of treated leachate and the receiving environment for disposal have not been finalized. A modern, materials recovery facility (MRF) will be constructed adjacent to the new sanitary landfill. The MRF will be contained in a specially designed building that provides central solid waste depot sites.

5. A major component of the development of the new sanitary landfill is the decommissioning of the existing dumpsite that is adjacent to the planned site for the new landfill. A separate environmental compliance audit (ECA) will be conducted by the PPTA consultant to determine the present and likely future impacts of the old dumpsite on the environment.

6. The proposed three new wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in Kaysone Phomvihane will treat urban wastewater aerobically in ponds before the treated effluent is discharged to existing drainage system and ultimately to the Mekong river. Raw wastewater will be conveyed to the WWTPs in upgraded combined waste-stormwater drainages. Aerobic pond sludge will either be disposed in a landfill or to agricultural lands. The quality of the treated
effluent and waste sludge at disposal has not been finalized.

7. The bank of the Mekong river adjacent to Kaysone Phomvihane will be fortified with modern slope stabilization materials and procedures. The top of the riverbank will be widened and developed into public and commercial space for use by the Kaysone Phomvihane community.

8. The upgrades to the urban roads and drainage in Kaysone Phomvihane, Phine and Dansavanh will occur adjacent to, and along sections of the national highway that passes through the towns. The road upgrades will consist of road widening, installation of lights, trees, and upgraded lateral drainage.

B. Potential Impacts

9. In general the examination of the pre-construction, construction, and operational phases of the subprojects, which included input from community stakeholder meetings, indicates that the potential environmental impacts of the subprojects in Lao PDR will be short-term civil construction-related which can be mitigated. The construction impacts of elevated dust, noise, traffic disruptions, erosion and sedimentation, liquid and solid waste, erosion, and public and worker safety can be mitigated and managed effectively with good construction management practices.

10. Potential long-term environmental impacts of the infrastructure developments concern the operation of the three WWTPs and sanitary landfill. The potential impacts of the WWTPs arise from uncertainties with the sensitivity and assimilative capacity of receiving drainage systems, and ultimately the Mekong river to the treated effluent from the aerobic treatment ponds. Similarly, the sensitivity of groundwater, and downstream surface water to the operation of the new sanitary landfill needs to be clarified at detailed design stage. The expected quality
and disposal procedures for planned treated leachate from landfill also needs to be clarified at detailed design stage. The final design of the sanitary landfill depends in part on the results of the ECA of the existing dumpsite.

11. Potential impacts of the Mekong riverbank protection component focus on the effects of construction on water quality, habitat for aquatic biota, navigation, and other uses of the river. Mitigation measures have been specified to isolate and minimize the construction-related impacts from the community.

12. The stakeholder meetings conducted in the subproject towns underscored the need for effective management of noise, dust, traffic disruptions, and traffic safety during the construction phase. The concerns of stakeholder included the increased truck and automobile traffic that is anticipated as a result of the operation of the completed subproject components.

13. Available data and information indicate an absence of critical wildlife habitat, rare or endangered species, ecological protected areas, and cultural property and values at the three subproject sites. However, because the sites of subprojects components are not finalized a rereview of local sensitive ecological resources should occur at  detailed design stage.

14. Potential induced environmental impacts of the subprojects are increased natural resource consumption and environmental degradation which could stem from the planned impact of the CTDP of socioeconomic development in the towns. These induced environmental impacts would potentially accumulate regionally along and adjacent to the EWEC. However, the localized-scale of the subproject infrastructure investments along with future management and regulation by the EA and MoNRE should offset those potential impacts.

C. Conclusions

15. The consolidated IEE concludes that the description of the feasibility design of the project combined with available information on the affected environments is sufficient to identify the scope of potential environmental impacts of the project. However, clarification of the affected environments is needed which can occur during the detailed designs of the subprojects.

16. Individual Environmental Management Plans (EMP) for the subprojects are found under separate cover. The EMPs provide detailed impacts mitigation and environmental monitoring plans, and the institutional responsibilities and capacity needs for the environmental management of the subprojects. The EMPs will need to be updated to meet the detailed designs of the subprojects.