GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The first concrete was poured Thursday morning in the Western-funded construction of a new wastewater treatment plant in Beit Lahiya, in the northern Gaza Strip.
French Consul General Frederic Desagneaux participated in the ceremony along with representatives of the other donors, which include the World Bank, the European Union, Belgium, and Sweden.
The long-obsolete old Beit Lahiya treatment plant has been in need of replacement for several years. In March 2007 a massive sewage cesspit burst its banks, killing at least five people in the ensuing deluge.
According to the French Consulate in Jerusalem, the project was planed in two stages. The first one, completed in summer 2010, consisted in the construction of a pumping station to transfer the sewage to 9 infiltration basins in order to prevent human, environmental and health risks.
The second stage of the project, scheduled for a duration of three years, aims at building a new biological treatment plant with a capacity of 35,600 cubic meters a day in order to meet the needs of the entire population of the North of Gaza, estimated at 250,000 inhabitants, and to protect groundwater.
France donated 16 million euros to this project, a third of its total cost of 48 million euros.