Gazipur catalyses pvt sector to tackle sewage sludge

In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the industrial city of Gazipur on the outskirts of Dhaka has decided to set up a wastewater and sewage sludge treatment system in two of its urban zones. The move through public-private partnership aims to benefit over 2.3 lakh households in the city, officials have said.

An agreement to provide transaction advisory services to help set up the wastewater management system in Gazipur and Tongi areas under the Gazipur City Corporation (GCC)

has already been signed between IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Public-Private Partnership Authority of Bangladesh, officials said.

With an estimated cost of USD 82 million, the pilot project will include a sewerage network of nearly 137 km, two sewage treatment plants of about 56 million litres per day cumulative capacity, mechanical desludging of septic tanks, and transportation of fecal sludge to three treatment plants.

“The Gazipur Wastewater Treatment Project is a big step towards meeting the government of Bangladesh’s goal of improving environmental and wastewater treatment standards in line with the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Sultana Afroz, the Chief Executive Officer of Bangladesh Public-Private Partnership Authority.

“The Gazipur project will serve as a model for rolling out similar public-private partnership projects across the country with the aim of improving citizens’ health and increasing Bangladesh’s market competitiveness by eliminating untreated wastewater flowing into the ground and waterbodies by 2035,” he said.

Gazipur, which is a major hub for manufacturing of readymade garments, the country’s main export product, has seen rapid urbanisation over the past two decades. At present, the city with a population of over two million does not have a wastewater treatment plant or a centralised sewerage network.

Nearly 70% of the 230,000 households in Gazipur and Tongi areas rely on a decentralised system, which is typically a conventional septic tank and pit latrines, while the wastewater generated by the remaining 30% is discharged directly into open drains or water bodies.

“The economic fallout from the impact of Covid makes mobilising funds and expertise from the private sector more important than ever,” said Wendy Werner, IFC Country Manager for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. “Public-private partnerships (PPP) are a proven way to help governments crowd in private financing to deliver quality services for people. I am happy to see PPP projects that improve the quality of life for the people of Bangladesh.”

The project is the result of a three-year effort by the Bangladesh Water Multi Stakeholder Partnership, which is being facilitated by the 2030 Water Resources Group, a public-private-civil society multi-donor trust fund hosted by the World Bank Group, a release said.

Globally, IFC’s advice in public-private partnerships is helping national and municipal governments in developing countries partner with the private sector to offer tangible benefits to millions of people by improving access to education, energy, transport, healthcare, and sanitation.

IFC has advised on the structuring of nine PPPs in the water sector, including supply and treatment, and is currently working on three projects worldwide. Last year, IFC assisted the Bangladesh government to develop a water distribution network and supply facilities with a capacity to produce 340 million liters of potable water per day for the estimated 1.5 million residents of Purbachal, a new township near the capital.

Source: United News of Bangladesh