DUBAI: Residents will pay no additional sewage fees despite a Dh1.55-billion ($422-million) investment in a new sewage treatment plant (STP).
A new network of pipes will divert sewage — collected from Bur Dubai and Deira — away from the overloaded Al Aweer STP to a new site in Jebel Ali.
Abdul Majid Shafe'ei, Director of Drainage and Irrigation Network Department, Dubai Municipality, said: "There's no increase planned in current sewage fees that residents or businesses pay — though I think there should be."
The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) charges the standard rate of 20 fils per unit for electricity, three fils per unit for water (for those falling under the green slab) and 0.5 fils per unit for sewerage. In other words, if water used is 4,090 (gallons) units in a month, the charge for it will be Dh122.70, while the sewage fee will be Dh20.45.
Sewage collected through Dubai's extensive network of underground pipes is treated and passed through ultraviolet light for use in irrigating parks, fields and road verges.
The first stage of the new STP in Jebel Ali was completed in April. The sewage pipeline for the second stage is under construction, said Shafe'ei, and will be ready in "45 to 60 days". The Jebel Ali STP is designed to keep pace with Dubai's population growth over the next 25 years.
The facility will be rolled out in four phases and eventually reach a capacity of 1.2 million cubic metres of sewage per day at the 6.7 million-square-metre site south-east of Jebel Ali Free Zone. The new STP involves technologies such as a reactor, nitrogen removal plant and ultra violet disinfection.
Shafe'ei said the city's underground network of sewage pipes currently pumps 400,000m3 of raw sewage per day, from Deira and Bur Dubai to Al Aweer, way beyond its capacity. The new Jebel Ali STP currently treats 63,000 cubic metres of raw sewage deposited by 1,700 sewage tankers from various parts of Dubai that are not connected to the sewage network.
The reported drop in Dubai's population had "no effect" on the amount of sewage the city generates daily, Abdul Majid Shafe'ei, Director of Drainage and Irrigation Network Department, Dubai Municipality, said. "Either people who stayed behind are taking more showers now, or those who've left have been replaced somehow," he added. The emirate's population reportedly dropped by up to 10 per cent with thousands of expatriates reportedly facing the axe due to the recent global economic crunch.