By Hana Namrouqa – Aug 27,2016 – Last updated at Aug 27,2016
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AMMAN — Authorities will shut down the Abu Nseir Wastewater Treatment Plant by next summer, thus ending one of the capital’s longstanding environmental problems, according to the Water Ministry.

The plant, which was established in the late 1980s in north Amman to treat 4,000 cubic metres of wastewater per day, has long been a source of air pollution and a potential hazard to underground water, according to area residents, who expressed relief towards the scheduled closure of the plant.

Abu Hisham, a resident of Abu Nseir, said that the plant emits foul odour.

“The plant releases very bad smell, especially during summer. Although the atmosphere in Abu Nseir during the hot season is pleasant, it is difficult most of the time to enjoy sitting outdoors because of the smell,” Abu Hisham, a retiree, told The Jordan Times.

Residents of nearby areas also suffer from the plant’s activities, including Bireen Municipality, located to the northwest of Zarqa Governorate.

Nisreen Mahmoud, a civil engineer who lives in Bireen, said that the plant’s treated wastewater is released into the valleys in Bireen before flowing into its final destination in the Zarqa River.

“The smell of the wastewater running in the wadis of Bireen is unbearable, let alone the insects and rodents it attracts,” Mahmoud highlighted.

She expressed fear that the wastewater could contaminate underground water.

“It is very relieving to hear that the plant will be shut down; the north of Amman and also Bireen witness high precipitation during winter; therefore, they are rich in springs,” Mahmoud underlined.

The Ministry of Water and Irrigation announced late last week plans to close down the plant to address its environmental problems.

In a statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times, Water Minister Hazem Nasser said construction on a 20.3-kilometre-long pipeline to transfer Abu Nseir plant’s wastewater to west Zarqa wastewater pumping station has commenced.

Nasser said the pipe is scheduled to be completed before the start of summer next year, noting that the wastewater will be then pumped to As Samra Wastewater Treatment Plant.

“This will be the solution for the leakage of wastewater in Abu Nseir valley and the resulting environmental problems,” Nasser said in the statement.