Monday, March 16, 2009

A much needed new Wastewater treatment plant in Nicaragua

For over 80 years, waste has been dumped into Nicaragua's Lake Managua. The lake has been described by environmentalists as the "World's Largest Toilet." Further, over 80 percent on Nicaragua's water is polluted.

Even as far back as 1969, the Nicaraguan government declared neighborhoods around the Lake Managua uninhabitable. Only now does the area have it's own waste water treatment plant.

From the IPS, José Adán Silva tells us about Nicaragua's big step in fulfilling the neglected Millennium Development Goal.

Ruth Selma Herrera, president of the Empresa Nicaragüense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados - Nicaragua’s water and sewage utility - said the new plant is processing 132,000 cubic metres of wastewater a day, and will process 180,000 cubic metres a day when it reaches full operating capacity.

The wastewater from 60 chemical companies and Managua’s 1.2 million people has been dumped untreated into the lake from 17 drains since 1927, when the government ordered all sewage to be channeled into the lake until a new sewer system was built.

But the system was not in place until 2007, when 32 kilometres of underground drainage and sewage pipes running to the treatment plant were completed.

"It is an old dream of the Nicaraguan people to salvage the beautiful gifts that God gave this land of lakes and volcanoes and, thanks to God, the government and friendly countries, we are giving a start to that dream," Herrera remarked to IPS.

Work on the plant began in 1997, with funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the governments of Germany and other European countries, and the Nicaraguan treasury. The total cost was 85.5 billion dollars.

More than 120,000 users of the sewage system are now connected to the treatment plant, which will begin to ease pollution of the 1,040 square kilometre lake which is located in western Nicaragua, near the Pacific coast.

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