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Government seeks to expand As-Samra Wastewater Treatment Plant, citing population growth concerns

By Hana Namrouqa - Mar 08,2018 - Last updated at Mar 08,2018

General view of the As-Samra Wastewater Treatment Plant (File photo)

AMMAN — The Ministry of Water and Irrigation is searching for donor agencies to fund a 200-million-dollar expansion for As-Samra Wastewater Treatment Plant, Jordan's largest sewage treatment facility, according to government officials.

The expansion seeks to meet the demands of the ever-increasing discharge of wastewater in the central region, a government official said on Wednesday, underlining that with Jordan's growing population, it is imperative to raise the capacity of the state-of-the-art treatment plant.

Located in Zarqa Governorate, As-Samra Wastewater Treatment Plant was built to replace the old, overburdened As-Samra wastewater stabilisation ponds. Construction on the plant commenced in 2003 and ended in 2008, at a cost of $169 million.

The facility underwent an expansion phase that started in 2012 and ended in 2015 to increase the plant’s average treatment capacity from 267,000 cubic metres of wastewater to 346,000 cubic metres, according to the ministry.

Now, the ministry is looking into further expanding the facility, according to a government source, who said that the planned expansion is estimated to cost $200 million.

"We are now in the process of securing funds from donor agencies to start with the expansion as soon as possible. We have already secured a good part of the needed funds," the official at the ministry told The Jordan Times.

He underlined that the expansion is imperative in the midst of the country's growing population and the Syrian refugee crisis. 

"Jordan has received some 1.4 million Syrian refugees, which not only exacerbated Jordan's water shortage, but also placed huge pressure on the sewage network and infrastructure, thus necessitating the expansion of As-Samra plant," the official highlighted.

The plant was built to improve the quality of Jordan's treated wastewater and discharge treated wastewater that can be used for the irrigation of certain kinds of crops.

In a tour of the plant earlier this week, incoming Minister of Water and Irrigation Ali Ghezawi revealed plans for raising the capacity of As-Samra plant, underlining that the facility is among Jordan's main strategic projects that the ministry implemented to safeguard the environment and improve health as well as socio-economic conditions of local communities.

He noted that the plant already treats 70 per cent of wastewater from Amman and Zarqa, highlighting that it also generates 10 per cent of the country's treated wastewater.

"The facility is also the first plant in Jordan to be 80 per cent self-sufficient in terms of electricity needs, thus saving $14 million in annual operational costs," Ghezawi said in a statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times.

A combination of hydraulic turbines and gas turbines powered by digestion biogas generate 80 per cent of the plant's power needs, according to web sources.

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