TOKYO — JFE Engineering will build a water treatment demonstration plant outside Yangon, looking to supply bottled water to Myanmar’s largest city, which is plagued with water quality problems.
The unit of Japan’s JFE Holdings will break ground this month on the facility, to cost 40 million yen ($331,072). It will come online in early 2016, initially processing about 20 cubic meters of water daily. After a yearlong feasibility study, JFE Engineering aims to build plants within three years that can supply 3,000 cubic meters of treated water a day.
The plant will use reverse osmosis membranes to filter impurities from groundwater. The company will examine the turbidity and salt and metal content of the treated water.
Yangon’s 5 million residents must boil or otherwise purify tap water before drinking it. Though local businesses sell bottled water, the city government considers current sanitation measures insufficient. It has reached a basic agreement with JFE Engineering and will work with the company on research.
JFE Engineering acquired the waterworks plant business of Isomura Hosui Kiko in May 2014 for about 1 billion yen (about $9.75 million at the time). It is using its Japanese peer’s know-how to expand its water operations throughout Asia.