by Hana Namrouqa | Oct 21, 2012 | 23:50

AMMAN — Construction of the first decentralised wastewater treatment plant in the country will start in the first quarter of next year to serve small and remote communities, officials said on Sunday.

The pilot project, located 35km northwest of Amman in Salt, will be implemented as part of the national executive committee office project, a joint initiative between the Ministry of Water and Irrigation and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, which is funded by the federal ministry of education and research in Germany.

“The project’s total budget is JD6 million. It will involve the construction of several decentralised wastewater treatment plants in different parts of the country,” Water Ministry Secretary General Bassem Tulfah said during the launch of the office project.

The goal of establishing decentralised wastewater treatment plants is to connect small communities, which are remote either due to distance or the rough topography of the area, Tulfah added.

“The small plants will help raise the amount of wastewater treated in accordance with international standards that will be used for irrigation purposes in the Jordan Valley,” he told The Jordan Times.

Tulfah noted that the average cost of a decentralised wastewater treatment plant is around JD850,000, highlighting that such small plants have the capacity to serve up to 5,000 people.

The project will also help protect the environment from pollution due to overflowing cesspits, which are located in villages across the Kingdom.

“Construction of the plant in Salt will start within six months and is expected to end in 18 months time,” Tulfah underscored.

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Minister of Water and Irrigation Mahir Abul Samin noted that many households in Jordan are not connected to a central sewage network, and therefore dispose of wastewater in cesspits, which pose a threat to the Kingdom’s limited ground water resources.

“Thus, this is an environment-friendly project which will treat wastewater and reuse it for irrigation purposes,” Abul Samin said at the launch.

German Minister of Education and Research Annette Schavan highlighted the importance of securing sufficient amounts of water for ensuring a sustainable economy and decent life.

Schavan said the project will address an everyday-life issue, noting that water plays an important role in the development of communities.

Jordan currently treats 114 million cubic metres of wastewater annually, the majority of which is used for irrigation and industrial purposes, according to the ministry’s figures.