A new wastewater treatment plant in Nicosia, and which serves communities on both sides of the Green Line, will be inaugurated tomorrow.
In an announcement, the European Commission and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) officially announced the completion of the new bi-communal Nicosia Wastewater Treatment Plant project.
To mark the occasion, a special inaugural event will be held at the plant from 11.30am tomorrow.
According to the announcement, speeches at the inauguration will be delivered by representatives of the two communities in Nicosia, Nicosia Mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis and occupied Nicosia's "mayor" Kadri Fellahoglu, Stefan Fule, European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy and Olivier Adam, UNDP Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Regional Director of the Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS. "A symbolic action consisting in unveiling of the plaque and watering of olive trees with treated water from the plant will follow," the announcement said.
The project - with a total budget of approximately €29m- was jointly funded by the Sewerage Board of Nicosia (70%) and the European Union under the Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community (30%). The project was implemented by the UNDP in the framework of the Partnership for the Future (UNDP-PFF) Programme.
According to the announcement, this has been the biggest project carried out in Cyprus by UNDP-PFF.
The project represents an important example of bi-communal cooperation in Cyprus. In 1978, the local representatives of the two communities, with encouragement and assistance from the UNDP reached an agreement to complete the construction of a common sewerage system. Since the beginning of its operation in 1980, the plant has been a perfect example of the cooperation between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sewage engineers, with the provision of the best possible service to both communities of Nicosia as the objective. In early 2003, the plant started to face growing environmental problems and to increasingly experience capacity overload and could not meet EU effluent quality requirements. This challenge brought the two communities of Nicosia to consider the opportunities offered by wastewater and to start thinking of it as a resource. A new state-of-the-art wastewater treatment infrastructure was designed which has resulted in a very significant improvement of wastewater collection and treatment
Work on the new, state-of-the-art plant began in March 2010 and it was put into trial operations in June 2013.
The EU fully supported the project from its inception, fully financing the design of the new plant and covering 30% of the costs of its construction. The UNDP promoted and facilitated dialogue between the two communities since the very beginning in the 1980s and oversaw the implementation of the design, construction, commissioning and making operational aspects of the new bi-communal plant in close cooperation with the European Commission and the two communities.
The new plant is currently treating an average of 30,000m³ of wastewater per day - equivalent to a population of 270,000 people - using state-of-the-art technologies including membrane bioreactors in line with EU standards.
Furthermore, according to the announcement, the new plant is capable of converting the energy content of bio-solids into green electricity and organic fertilisers, hence contributing to environmental sustainability and reducing the physical and environmental footprint of waste water collection and treatment on the island.
The newly constructed waste water treatment plant will produce ca. 10 million m³ water a year which can be used for agricultural irrigation. Depending on the type of crops and crop rotation strategy, approximately 500 hectares can be irrigated with such water. Such a measure is in line with Art. 12 of the Council Directive 91/271/EEC, water conservation requirements introduced by the Council Directive 2000/60/EC, and at the same time reducing the over-extraction of groundwater in the area (enhancing water resources and water conservation).
The new plant has a sludge treatment line which stabilises the sewage sludge (bio-solids) to comply with the requirements of the Council Directive 86/278/EEC on the protection of the environment, and in particular of the soil, when sewage sludge is used in agriculture. Over 3000 tons of dry solids will be produced in a year. The sludge resulting from the treatment can be converted to dry sludge/compost suitable for agriculture as natural fertiliser.
It also has an anaerobic sludge digester and a CHP unit to produce electricity from biogas. The operation of the plant is therefore partly powered by renewable energy.
"The European Commission and the UNDP wish to express their congratulations to the representatives of the two communities of Nicosia, the engineers and technical teams, for this important achievement," the announcement noted.