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Sewage Treatment Plant Press Call 30-01-2018 (Photo John Bugeja) View from Trade Winds Building Ocean Village
31st January 2018
Gibraltar is finally pushing ahead with construction of a sewage treatment plant, with the Gibraltar Government signing a contract for the final design of the facility and construction work set to start within months for completion by 2020.
Gibraltar’s lack of a wastewater treatment plant has been the subject of controversy in recent years, even leading to infraction proceedings by the European Union.
Although this project has been on the table since 2014, progress has been complex because of the need to develop special bacteria able to survive in the salt water used to flush Gibraltar’s toilets.
At a press conference at No.6 Convent Place yesterday, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and the Minister for Environment, Dr John Cortes, announcement the project was now ready to move to the next phase.
The Gibraltar Government has awarded an Advanced Works Contract to the joint venture between NWG Commercial Services Limited [Northumbrian Water] and Modern Water.
The contract covers the design and survey work required for final planning and environmental approvals as well as preliminary site works.
"I am very happy to see that our detailed work in respect of this matter is now going to see progress in the treatment of wastewater,” Mr Picardo said.
“It has taken us time to be able to progress this as we had to start literally from scratch and the technical aspects of the work required were extraordinarily complex and challenging.”
The odourless plant will be located at the Brewery Crusher site near Europa Point. The plant will be “covered and not impact negatively and probably provide some new opportunities for the area,” Dr Cortes said.
Addressing concerns over the impact, if any, it would have on the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Chief Minister said: “The design of the facility is going to be very sensitively done, it is not something that needs to have much height and it is going to be very easy to blend into the environment around the area.”
He added that Dr Cortes has done a lot of work on all the areas around the UNESCO site “which is hugely important to the Government, a huge recognition of Gibraltar’s contribution to world heritage.”
The uniqueness of Gibraltar’s salt water system meant that a special bacteria had to be developed that will break down the sewage but also survive the saline content. Most of the world uses fresh water in their waste systems.
Modern Water, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, made an announcement on the contract to investors yesterday morning.
The contract marks the start of the final steps before work can commence on the overall project, which is for the design, build and operation of a wastewater treatment plant, capable of treating urban wastewater as well as storm flows.
Dr Cortes took pride in making the announcement.
"I am delighted to be able to announce this important step forward for this vital project, which honours the commitment made by this government,” he said.
“On a personal note, as an environmentalist, I take huge pride in being a part of leading the further development of Gibraltar's environmental credentials and the delivery of Gibraltar's wastewater treatment works."
In October 2014, the joint venture between the two companies was announced following a tender process...