January 23, 2021, 10:18 pm


2020-12-02 19:32:06 BdST

Bangladesh to build first private-public wastewater management facilities

Gazipur, the industrial city in the neighbourhood of capital Dhaka, is going to see a wastewater and sludge treatment system with private sector participation.

Such facilities, the first-ever of its kind in the country, will be developed in two of Gazipur’s urban zones, according to the project outline. It aims to treat domestic sewage that is expected to benefit nearly 230,000 households.

This move follows the signing of an agreement between International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank Group’s private sector window, and the Public-Private Partnership Authority of Bangladesh.

The deal will provide transaction advisory services to help set up a wastewater management system in Gazipur and Tongi areas of Gazipur City Corporation (GCC), said the IFC release issued on Wednesday.

With an estimated cost of $82 million, the pilot project will include a sewerage network of nearly 137 kilometers, 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.

Sultana Afroz, Chief Executive Officer of the Authority, said the project is a big step towards meeting the government’s goal of improving environmental and wastewater treatment standards in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

"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 water bodies by 2035," she added.

Gazipur is a major hub for manufacturing of export-oriented readymade garments, that has seen rapid urbanisation over the past two decades.

Currently the city of over two million people does not have a wastewater treatment plant or a centralised sewerage network.

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

“The economic fallout from the impact of Covid-19 makes mobilising funds and expertise from the private sector more important than ever,” said Wendy Werner, IFC Country Manager for Bangladesh.

“Public-private partnerships (PPP) are a proven way to help governments crowd in private financing to deliver quality services for people.”

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, said the news release.

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