Where does the water go when we pull the plug in the sink or bath?
What happens to the waste when we flush the toilets in Fujairah?
Until recently, the water went into septic tanks or was dumped in the desert and wastelands of the emirate.
Since 2008, about 80% of the homes and industries of the city of Fujairah and the towns of Mirbah and Qidfa have been connected to the new Wastewater Treatment System which is constructed and operated by Tanqia. Our waste travels through a 300 kilometer pipeline network by gravity and with the assistance of 30 pumping stations to reach the treatment plant, 11 kms north of Fujairah and 4 kms south of Qidfa.
What’s in a Name?
The name Tanqia means purify. Since 2004 the Fujairah Government has granted Tanqia the exclusive rights for 33 years to design, construct, finance, own, expand and operate a wastewater treatment plant that treats the wastewater in the city and recycles it for further uses.
The treatment plant south of Qidfa consists of a modern computerized building equipped with a laboratory, workshop and a number of tanks where the wastewater undergoes screening and several stages in the purification process.
The odor is surprisingly minimal and confined to a small area on the property. The buildings are surrounded by beautiful gardens and trees that include several palm trees donated by His Highness, Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, the Ruler of Fujairah.
About 16,000 cubic metres of wastewater travel to the treatment plant each day. Due to Fujairah’s rapid growth a duplicate set of treatment tanks is now on the drawing board and soon to be constructed and put into operation.
While some of the purified water is currently recycled and used for landscaping, most of it goes into the sea near Qidfa.
The treated water can be used to irrigate landscapes, tree farms and industrial usage such as district cooling, dust abatement in quarries or even the washing of ships. However, the fundamental step missing is a new network that can take the 16,000 cubic metres of recycled water daily to fulfill other uses.
There is a small amount of sludge that results from the water treatment process but this too needs further processes before it is safe and clean to be sold to the public for fertilizing gardens and farms.
The wastewater treatment plant does not currently treat industrial water, nor can it treat storm water. Somewhere on the list of government priorities will be the need to create a system for collecting and processing storm water from roads after rain and flooding.
One of the keys to the successful transition and acceptance of the new wastewater system has been the many training seminars and visits to schools and homes by Tanqia’s Manager of Public Relations, Ms. Khadijah Al Hindi.
Khadijah is proud of the new facilities and is passionate about teaching people to care for their environment.
Caring for Our Environment
While we as householders send waste down the drains there are important ways we can cooperate to ensure that the wastewater system works effectively. These include the following:
* Not constructing buildings over manholes and wastewater lines and refraining from making illegal connections to the system.
* Ensuring that trees are planted some distance from the wastewater lines to avoid roots infiltrating the pipes and disrupting the flow.
* Householders and restaurateurs refraining from pouring down the drains cooking oil, grease and fat.
* Ensuring that personal hygiene materials, paper towels and diapers (nappies) are not flushed down the toilets to enter the system.
* Abstaining from lifting manholes and throwing into the system items like dishware, garbage, concrete materials and chemicals.
* Desisting from putting storm water through the lines as this affects the bacteria that are essential to the effective biological treatment.
The Government and the people of Fujairah can be proud of Tanqia and the wastewater treatment system that is being currently operated. It is a major contribution to the environment wellbeing of the city of Fujairah.
The development and success achieved thus far should be a boost to taking the extra steps that will ensure that the purified water is put to further significant uses.
Further Info and Contact Details
There are many safety and environmental tips on the attractive Tanqia web site as well as comprehensive information and photos that describe how this system works and who might help you with your questions.
Tanqia web site.
Take a Look
Some pictures of the Tanqia wastewater treatment plant in Fujairah can be seen in this photo album.
More Fujairah news, information, resources and photos are posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.
Image: A scene from Fujairah’s Tanqia, “the only privately owned wastewater collection and treatment system in the UAE and the Middle East.” (Photo courtesy of Tanqia)