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Dr Daroonwan Schwartz, Laboratory Specialist at the Phuket Marine Biological Centre, with  Chief of Oceanography, Dr Somkiat Korkiattiwong

Brownout in Patong 'Unlikely to Be Human'

Wednesday, August 28, 2013
PHUKET: The brown water at Patong beach is probably caused by reasons other than human waste, the Chief of Oceanography at Phuket's Marine Biological Centre, Dr Somkiat Korkiattiwong, said yesterday.

''Human waste could be present in small amounts but it's highly unlikely to be responsible for the color of the water,'' he said.

Earth-laden run-off or algae was a more likely cause for the discoloration, he said.

Results of tests on water quality samples taken at Patong beach on Friday won't be known for a few more days, he said.

''We only have a small staff and the survey crew is now in Krabi,'' he said.

Water quality checks are to be made regularly at 23 beaches points around Phuket so tourists will be able to know they are swimming in ''safe'' water.

Friday's sample was the first to be taken right on a Phuket beach, where tourists swim. Previous tests have been taken 100 metres and 500 metres out to sea, according to international standards.

The move to beach testing comes with the support of Phuket's honorary consuls and Phuket Governor Maitree Intrusud, who was at Patong beach on Friday to see the first samples taken.

The color of the water at Patong has generated concern but Dr Somkiat said that natural causes were likely to have triggered the change.

'Human waste would be total coliform and that would turn the seawater black,'' he said. Results are likely to be known in a few days.

''So far Phuket's seawater is fine at the beaches but if Phuket wan'ts to encourage more tourists, then frequent tests should be made,'' he said.

The marine biological centre was short-staffed and more funding would help to improve testing - which now takes place every two months - protect Thailand's tourism future, Dr Somkiat added.

Most onlookers are waiting to see whether test results that show high bacterial levels bring prosecutions against polluters.

Seawater quality is likely to be among the topics for a Coastal Water Safety Summit being planned for Phuket in October, with the support of the British Embassy.

Comments

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I applaud them for taking this kind of action about in forming the public how good the beaches are, but being slightly cynical. I would still hold reservations.

Anyone who has lived here a while, know how cover-ups are common. How tourism is always the last to know, so it doesn't affect the tourism here.

We all can look through the history of PhuketWan and read the sad stories everyone should have been aware of when they happened, and we were not.

Posted by Tbs on August 28, 2013 08:11

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Test results are not in yet, water has turned brown, yet Dr Somkiat declares Phuket seawater to be fine.

I wonder what the scientific basis for his statement is ?

Posted by ThaiMike on August 28, 2013 08:34

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Yesterday at around 11am a pickup parked at Kalim. The driver ran about 15 meters of flexible pipe to the ocean and then pumped and discharged the contents of a tank on the truck into the sea. Maybe it was sewerage,toxic chemical, or nuclear waste. Oh well never mind .

Posted by Hugh Jarse on August 28, 2013 09:43

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Of course Dr Somkiat Korkiattiwong is right, the brown colour is not caused by feces, probably caused by run off from the coast. But this does not mean that there is no pollution. What we have to bear in mind is that in this time of the year the season the readings will probably be a lot lower than in the high season, simply because the water in the bay is being renewed more often now due to the current, wind and waves.

Posted by Sailor on August 28, 2013 10:00

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Sewage itself would not cause the colour change what it would do is create a spike in Nitrates which could cause a brown algae bloom, especially in tropical areas like Phuket.

Posted by Fiesty Farang on August 28, 2013 10:48

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wish they would check the lagoon in nai harn where toilet from illegal restaurant goes straight in

Posted by michael on August 28, 2013 15:50


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