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Fed-up Dubai residents welcome winds of change

Smells from the nearby sewage plant caused misery for people living in International City

The Al Aweer sewage plant
Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News Achives
The Al Aweer sewage plant. People living nearby have complained of foul smells coming from the area but recent changes have hopefully put a stop to the waft.
Gulf News

Dubai: Residents of International City and Al Warqa finally have respite from the sewage stench from the Al Aweer Sewage plant as Dubai Municipality claims to have reduced the odour by 98 per cent in most parts of the plant using operational techniques that included chemical treatment to enhance odour absorption.

"The foul smell used to be very frequent and was unbearable. Now [it is] reduced which is a big relief. It has not stopped totally but earlier, it used to be almost once every two days and now the frequency has reduced and we get the smell about once a week," said Omkar, who has been living in Morocco Cluster for almost two-and-a-half years.

The plant, which handles more than 300,000 cubic metres of sewage waste every day, compared to its capacity of 260,000 cubic metres, has been functional for more than 25 years and the municipality has made made improvements in the operational techniques to handle the smell.

Rashid Karkain, head of Al Aweer operation section, told Gulf News: "We are as much concerned about the environment as residents in Al Warqa, International City and other areas.

Not totally vanished

"To tackle this issue, a special task force was formed about six months ago and now we have attained 98 per cent reduction in odour through improvements in treatment facilities, which also included enhancing the chemical dosing for higher absorption of the stench."

Regarding the residents complaint that the odour had not totally vanished, he said: "I must point out that this is not the only source of odour in this area and there are other sources also.

"However, for the Al Aweer plant, there is no odour going out of the facility to the surroundings."

The plant had been running beyond its design capacity for quite some time and got some relief after the plant in Jebel Ali got operational.

The Jebel Ali facility is estimated to handle about 190,000 cubic metres of sewage waste a day. Until then, this sewage waste was also coming to the Al Aweer plant.

The sewage waste that flows into the treatment facility is treated to the point of making it fit for irrigational purposes. The treated water is used to maintain greenery across the emirate.

The residents in International City, particularly the Morocco and Persia clusters, and also in Al Warqa had been enduring the smell from the plant and the municipality also received frequent complaints.

The number of complaints about the odour from the plant has dropped steeply after the technical capacity of the plant has been stepped up, said the municipality officials.

The residents, meanwhile, said that the authorities must ensure measures to rid them of the odour completely. "The smell has reduced, but still it has not stopped. We hope that the authorities are able to stop it from all sources in this area and we are able to breathe fresh air," said another International City resident.