by Hana Namrouqa | Apr 10, 2014

AMMAN — Studies are under way to select a new location for the Ain Ghazal Wastewater Treatment Plant, Ministry of Water and Irrigation officials said on Thursday.

The authorities seek to relocate the facility away from an overpopulated neighbourhood, and a congested highway that links Amman and Zarqa, Water Ministry Spokesperson Omar Salameh said.

“The ministry is scouting around for a new location which is far from residential areas, yet relatively close to the capital,” Salameh told The Jordan Times.

Al Ghabawi and Ruseifa in Zarqa Governorate, situated 22 kilometres northeast of Amman, were among the ministry’s options to house the new facility, but the locations were deemed unfeasible after further studies, he said.

The relocation of the plant, which was established in 1963 in east Amman, will be the long-term solution for the air pollution, foul odours and traffic congestion caused by the facility.

Meanwhile, Water Minister Hazem Nasser visited the plant on Thursday to check on progress of a JD2-million renovation project, which is considered a short-term solution for the environmental problems in the area.

The refurbishment of the treatment plant is aimed at ending the emission of bad odours, a long-standing nuisance to area residents, and addressing traffic congestion created by scores of wastewater tankers, which line up to unload sewage at the plant, according to the ministry.

“The project’s tender was referred to a local contractor this month,” Nasser said in a statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times.

As part of the renovation project, the contractor will increase the number of sewage discharge points at the plant from eight to 14 and raise the capacity of the sewage tankers’ treatment unit from 10,000 cubic metres daily to 16,000 cubic metres, Nasser explained.

In addition, a new state-of-the-art treatment unit will be established to prevent the emission of foul odours, thus creating a clean environment for area residents and reducing the amount of organic materials that reach the Khirbet Samra Wastewater Treatment Plant via sewage tankers, according to the ministry.

The Ain Ghazal plant comprises two wastewater treatment units — one receives and treats 150,000 cubic metres of wastewater from Amman’s sewage network, while the second treats 10,000 cubic metres of wastewater dumped daily by over 150 tankers.

There are 27 wastewater treatment plants in the Kingdom that treat 122 million cubic metres of wastewater per year, 115 million cubic metres of which are used for industrial purposes and irrigating certain crops, such as fodder, according to the ministry.
The rehabilitation and expansion of the Ain Ghazal treatment plant is funded by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) grant.

In 2011, the GCC allocated $5 billion to finance development projects in Jordan during the 2012-2016 period, with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE and Qatar paying $1.25 billion each.

A list of development projects was prepared by a committee, with some $425.4 million allocated for water and sanitation projects.