€3 Million Grant for New Wastewater and Sludge Treatment Facilities in Belgrade, Serbia
The WBIF Steering Committee approves a €3 million grant for the construction of new technical wastewater and sludge treatment facilities, which will complement the existing Makis plants in Belgrade, Serbia.
Currently, the sludge and technical wastewater that result from the treatment of raw water in Makis are discharged directly into a settling tank on site and in the urban sewage system, without any prior treatment. This practice negatively impacts surface water quality in the area; it also incurs significant costs to the water company who needs to periodically remove sediment from the settling tank which serves as Belgrade’s backup water reservoir. The WBIF grant will allow for the processing of these water treatment by-products so that they are converted into solid state and then deployed adequately. Specifically, it will assist with the construction of a pre-settling unit, a secondary sludge thickener, and a process wastewater treatment plant.
The investments into the Makis Water Treatment Plant constitute the second environmental project to receive WBIF grant co-financing in 2017. The two grants have been made possible by contributions to the WBIF Joint Fund from bilateral donors. The most recent contributions to the Joint Fund were made by Austria, Germany, Norway, Sweden, France, Luxembourg, and Slovenia. For a full bilateral donor contribution overview, please see the current status of the Joint Fund.
Johan Willert, Senior Environmental Infrastructure Programme Manager with Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and Co-Chair of the WBIF for 2017, said:
“This grant will contribute to essential improvements of water treatment facilities in Belgrade which would benefit more than 1 million people. Moreover, it will offset a part of the investment costs which otherwise would have been reflected in a rather steep water tariff increase, beyond the current affordability levels of the low and mid-income population. The Bilateral Donors will continue to provide grant support to key environment and social sector projects in the region in 2018 as a principle means to support the region’s socio-economic growth.”
The WBIF grant to Makis will be complemented by €14 million in grant and loan support from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), who has been a long-standing development partner to the Belgrade Water Company and the City of Belgrade. The first ever public transaction signed by the EBRD in Serbia was with the City of Belgrade in 2001 for financing key municipal capital investments, including the construction of the Makis II Water Treatment Plant. The EBRD and the Belgrade Water Company will co-finance the overall investment which includes, alongside wastewater and sludge treatment, the refurbishment of Jezero Water Treatment Plant, removal of sediment from the settling tank, and the construction of two new raw water distribution pipelines for transferring raw water from the Sava River to the Makis complex. Once in operation, the investments will help raise the capacity of drinking water production in Makis complex from 3 m3/s to 5 m3/s, and thus secure continuous water supply to the citizens of Belgrade.
Caption: WBIF Bilateral Donors together with Serbia and EBRD representatives at the WBIF Steering Committee in Frankfurt, 13 December 2017. (c) EU.