By Maria Weldali – Dec 26,2019

AMMAN — With the goal of channelling Azraq’s used water back into its bionetworks, the Ministry of Water and Irrigation has laid the foundation for a wastewater treatment plant project titled “Innovative Sanitation Solutions and Reuse in Arid Regions” (ISSRAR), to be launched in the first half of 2020.

The plant, to be located some 120 kilometres east of Amman between north and south Azraq, aims at restoring the ecology and landscapes of the area by recovering wastewater for irrigation, according to ministry spokesperson Omar Salamah.

The project seeks to remedy growing environmental concerns in Azraq, as wastewater has been accumulating in different parts of the area, affecting the Azraq Wetland Reserve, groundwater wells and local biodiversity.

“Azraq is an area with some of the most important sources of water in Jordan, so improving and protecting health standards there has become a priority,” Salamah told The Jordan Times over the phone on Thursday.

The wastewater treatment process will introduce a mechanism of water recovery through discharging wastewater into receptacles, removing suspended solids and employing biological treatments via biofilters, the project’s field coordinator, Mohammad Talafha, told The Jordan Times.

The sustainable ecological process includes a reed-bed system, which addresses disease-carrying organisms, followed by biodegradation, which removes micro-pollutants, he added.

The wastewater plant will have an absorptive capacity of 500 cubic metres/day of contaminated water during its initial period of operation, Talafha said.

“Azraq is nowhere near the major sewage plants, so this project will serve the local community and replenish groundwater resources,” Salameh noted.

The project will be carried out in cooperation with a German NGO specialising in full-cycle decentralised sanitation, which will assist Jordan in establishing long-term strategies for wastewater treatment, as well as a Swiss consultancy specialising in good water governance, the spokesperson said.

Talafha noted that the German organisation will design and implement the wastewater management strategies, including recycling sewage into class-A recycled water to suit Jordanian standards and guidelines.

The project is set to be implemented in three stages, he said, adding that, during the first stage, technical studies will be conducted and a legal and institutional framework will be chosen to create objective criteria for financial proceedings.