Curtin Malaysia organises visit to Lambir Water Treatment Plant as part of student learning

Miri – 3 November 2023 – Curtin University Malaysia’s Department of Civil and Construction Engineering, in collaboration with the IMM Curtin Malaysia Student Branch, recently organised a highly informative visit to LAKU Management Sdn. Bhd.’s Lambir Water Treatment Plant.

The visit aimed to provide valuable insights into water treatment processes and enhance the students’ understanding of the design, planning, and supervision of engineering projects that meet the specific needs of local communities.

It was attended by 36 students, accompanied by Head of the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering Associate Professor Ir. Wong Kwong Soon; lecturers Ir. Dr. Christine Yeo Wan Sieng, Carrie Ho Lee Ing, Ts. Dr. Paran Gani, and Dr. Tan Yee Yong, and lab manager Helda Puyang Jau.

During the visit, the students and lecturers were given a comprehensive briefing on the background and operations of the treatment plant by Project Engineer Dorothy Mayang Patrick and Corporate Affairs Officer Arthur Andrew Jo. This allowed them to gain in-depth knowledge about the various water treatment processes employed and understand their significance in ensuring the delivery of clean and potable water to communities.

The group was taken on a tour of the plant, starting with a visit to the raw water intake. This gave them an opportunity to witness first-hand the initial stage of the water treatment process, where untreated water is sourced from its natural environment. They were able to observe the challenges faced in obtaining raw water and understand the measures taken to ensure its safety and quality.

The visit also included observations of essential water treatment processes like flocculation, sedimentation, and rapid sand filtration. These processes are critical in removing impurities, particles, and harmful substances from the raw water, resulting in the production of safe and drinkable water for consumption by the community. Witnessing these processes provided valuable practical knowledge to the participants and showcased the importance of effective water treatment methods.

Furthermore, the students and lecturers had the opportunity to visit the water quality laboratory at the treatment plant. This allowed them to familiarise themselves with the advanced equipment and testing procedures used to monitor and ensure the quality of treated water. The visit to the laboratory presented a unique learning experience, providing insights into the meticulous testing and analysis required to maintain high standards of water quality.

Overall, the visit to the Lambir Water Treatment Plant was a resounding success, providing the participants with a comprehensive understanding of water treatment processes and their vital role in meeting the needs of local communities. The experience also highlighted the significance of considering community requirements when designing, planning, and supervising engineering projects.

Second-year civil engineering student Yong Jia Yi remarked that it was an eye-opening experience and he was able to learn more about the operations and processes of the water treatment plant. Fellow second-year student Rishone Chu Pu Dhong thanked LAKU Management for the opportunity to visit, saying that it helped him better understand water treatment processes and the engineering principles behind the designing, planning and construction of such facilities.

Associate Professor Ir. Dr. Wong, meanwhile, said conducting site visits to public utilities such as water treatment plants is highly valuable for engineering students and the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering incorporates them its curriculum as part of student learning.

“Site visits allow engineering students to gain a deeper understanding of engineering principles, develop valuable skills, and gain exposure to the real-world challenges faced by professionals in the industry. They get to observe theoretical concepts being applied in practical scenarios, which helps bridge the gap between classroom learning and real-life engineering practices. They can also engage with the equipment, processes, and systems they learn about in their coursework, making their learning more immersive and impactful,” he said.

He added that site visits offer students the opportunity to interact with professionals working in the field, allowing them to gain insights into the profession, ask questions, and network with industry experts, as well as develop a clearer understanding of potential career paths within the engineering industry.

The ongoing collaboration between the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering and the IMM Curtin Malaysia Student Branch and other engineering academic clubs demonstrate their commitment to providing practical exposure and knowledge enhancement opportunities for students. It is expected that such initiatives will continue to contribute to producing well-rounded and skilled engineers capable of contributing to the development and welfare of society.

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Assoc Prof Ir Wong Kwong Soon presenting tokens of appreciation to Project Engineer Dorothy Mayang Patrick

LAKU Management staff explaining the water treatment process to the students and lecturers

The students observing the water intake at the treatment plant