By Kendal Smith
Special to American Forces Press Service
April 3, 2008 - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Gulf Region Division is directing an $85 million central wastewater treatment facility for Fallujah's estimated 200,000 residents. Started in May, the project is the largest in Anbar province and is 45 percent complete, officials said.
The facility is projected to be sufficient for all of Fallujah's wastewater treatment needs when the city integrates its own collection systems later and through population expansion to 2025.
Included in the work is a collection system for 27 percent of the present city population, trunk mains for the projected 100 percent capability, pump stations and a wastewater treatment plant processing 10.5 million gallons daily. The Iraqi government will develop the remainder of the collection system.
The facility is a "four-train" facility – a term that describes a complete beginning-to-end treatment system that usually exists in parallel and complementary sets with other trains. An operational plant of Trains 1 and 2 should come on line by the end of August, while Trains 3 and 4 likely will be complete around October 2008, according to Peter Collins, a project manager with the Gulf Region Central district.
Having several trains enables a treatment facility to handle emergencies and to provide for future expansion, he explained. Two trains are sufficient for Fallujah at its current population, although the city is expanding faster than anticipated due to the improved security in Anbar province, he added.
Key to the operation are two central pump stations that are being finished more than 40 feet below ground level and will have a pumping capacity of 40 million gallons daily. Fallujah's sewage will be sent to inlet tanks, and then directed to aerated grit and oil removal tanks, on to aeration tanks more than 60 yards in diameter, sent to settling tanks and, finally, to a chlorination contact chamber before release into the Euphrates River.
"The impact on the people of Fallujah and the environment of the Euphrates River Valley will greatly improve the health of the citizens, particularly the infants, both within the city, but also downstream, where the Euphrates is the primary drinking source," Collins said. "By the end of this summer, there will be no wastewater in the collection-connected streets, and children will be able to play safely outside.
"This represents a monumental step forward for all Al Anbar province," he continued, "and that is a great motivating factor for those of us bringing this project on line."
Trains 1 and 2 are at the early stage of electro-mechanical work, pending delivery of the major electro-mechanical plant. Trains 3 and 4 are at the first stage of civil works. Earth fills for the two huge aeration tanks and four final settling tanks are in process, officials said.
Apart from a 450-member Iraqi work force, the project has 35 Iraqi engineers visiting the various project sites daily, checking on the quality of the ongoing construction and encouraging worker safety. GRD officials said they meet regularly with the various construction firms on 13 separate contracts, as well as with city and Iraqi ministry officials to ensure issues are worked out and the project continues to completion.
A resident Iraqi safety engineer is expected at Camp Fallujah soon. The addition of two safety engineers into the Fallujah quality-assurance team will then give the project a defined safety structure, officials said. Project supervisors can raise concerns from Camp Fallujah and have them transmitted in Arabic to the quality-assurance team, which will resolve the issues directly with the contractor.
Safety and security in other areas are also noteworthy, according to Awaf Abdul Rahim, a construction manager. Fallujah's citizens are benefitting all-around.
"People are happy, because our community is safer now and there are more American projects creating jobs in different areas," Rahim said. "It's helped Fallujah's unemployment. With the improvement in the security, we are inspired to work hard. Our construction crews became more serious and active and are now getting more done."
(Kendal Smith is a public affairs officer with the Gulf Region Central district, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Iraq.)