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Two wastewater treatment units to be installed at Zaatari camp

By Hana Namrouqa - Feb 18,2014 - Last updated at Feb 18,2014

AMMAN — Two portable wastewater treatment units will be operational at the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Mafraq Governorate before the start of summer, officials said on Tuesday.

The mobile units will be installed by June to process 3,500 cubic metres of wastewater per day, which is the current amount of sewage generated daily at the camp, Water Minister Hazem Nasser said.

He made the remarks at the signing of an agreement on the procurement and installation of the mobile treatment units, where he added that the units are important to prevent the contamination of the Zaatari aquifer, located beneath the camp, some 90km northeast of Amman.

Under the agreement, a membrane biological reactor will be installed with the capacity to treat 1,760 cubic metres of wastewater per day, in addition to trickling filters with the capacity to treat another 1,760 cubic metres of wastewater each day. Both units will be built to serve 55,000 people each, according to the ministry.

“The units will be installed at a cost of $6 million and are funded by UNICEF,” Nasser said.

Installing the two portable wastewater treatment units has three goals, the minister said, noting that the first purpose is to treat generated wastewater at the site to prevent the aquifer’s pollution and improve sanitation conditions at the camp.

“The second goal is to reduce the number of wastewater tankers travelling between the camp and Ikeider Landfill, where the wastewater is dumped. This will end noise pollution caused by the tankers for area residents and also reduce pressure on the landfill,” Nasser added.

The third goal for installing the units is to utilise the treated wastewater for the irrigation of fodder, according to the minister.

“At least 1,000 dunums will be planted with fodder crops to support local communities hosting refugees in raising and sustaining their livestock,” Nasser said, underscoring that the technology of the two portable wastewater treatment units will be applied for the first time in Jordan.

Two similar units will be installed at the refugee camp in Azraq, east of the country, once funding for the units is secured, according to Water Authority of Jordan Secretary General Tawfik Habashneh.

Deputy representative and officer in charge of UNICEF Jordan, Michele Servadei, said at the signing ceremony that the project in Zaatari is “the peak of the organisation’s cooperation with the ministry”.

Servadei said the project seeks to ensure stabilisation at the camp and do more for communities hosting Syrian refugees.

According to UNHCR figures, the Zaatari camp is currently home to 92,000 people.

The number of registered refugees who entered Jordan since the beginning of the crisis has reached 600,000, of whom 80 per cent reside among host communities across the Kingdom, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

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