Natural wastewater treatment project in Bsharri
Bsharri Municipality will enlist plant microorganisms to gobble up the pollution in the region’s wastewater, leaders from the area announced Sunday afternoon. The Model Plant for Sanitation project in Bsharri will test a new water treatment technology, which uses naturally grown microorganisms to treat the municipality’s wastewater. The project was inaugurated Sunday in the Al-Harim area with the cooperation of the Northern Lebanon Water Company by a gathering of political and religious figures.
The new sanitation system is part of a bigger project to promote and preserve the Qadisha Valley.
“[This] is the first project in Lebanon which adopted a technology that suits the small residential communities in the countryside and fits with the natural environment,” said Nabil al-Jisr, head of the Council for Development and Reconstruction.
“The success of this experiment will have a national effects because it will spread into all villages in Bsharri and similar Lebanese regions that are hard to link to the major and moderate sanitation systems.”
After an initial testing phase, the municipality intends to spread the project throughout the qada. If successful, the technology will also be implemented in other parts of Lebanon through the national master plan for sanitation, Jisr said.
“Twenty percent of Lebanese citizens will benefit from this technology to treat the wastewater in their villages,” he said
Patrice Paoli, France’s ambassador to Lebanon, explained the exact technology, which was developed by the French Development Agency.
Common water reeds have the ability to transfer oxygen from their leaves, through their stems and out through their root systems in a gravel bed through which the wastewater flows. That oxygen-rich gravel creates the perfect habitat for pollutant-fighting bacteria.
The inauguration begins the first phase in a project that will help alleviate the issues Bsharri faces in treating its wastewater, said Lebanese Forces MP Strida Geagea.
“It is the first stage in a major project that will include all the villages and towns of the Bsharri Qada and will put an end to the problem of the sanitation and the wastewater that contaminates the environment, the groundwater, the soil and the river waters which cross through Qadisha and Qannoubine valleys and pours into the sea,” she said
The project is part of a wider program to preserve the Qadisha Valley and the Cedars forest. The overarching project also seeks to stem the tide of urbanization which is drawing residents from the countryside to the country’s larger cities, Geagea said.
The project was made partially possible by the contribution of Shafiq Tabet, who paid out of pocket for the land that will house the new water treatment plant, Geagea said.
Geagea also saluted the head of the French Development Agency, Doni Kasa, for his support for the project, noting that the project was financed by the agency and AFD Company, which contributed 500,000 euros ($664,000).
“The sanitation plant that we inaugurate in Bsharri is the first of its kind not only in the region but also in the north and in Lebanon,” Geagea said. “It is part of a comprehensive development plan in the whole region, regarding the infrastructure on all levels.”
Jisr reminded attendees that Bsharri Municipality houses historically significant sites that the government should work to preserve.
“We should not forget that we are in a region enlisted on the World Heritage list by UNESCO and the Qannoubine Valley is one of Lebanon’s priceless resources,” he said. “Preserving this region and developing it economically and socially should top our priorities list and requires enormous efforts by all officials.”
Source: The Daily Star – July 29, 2013. Page 4.