Thousands of Bijeljina’s inhabitants now have access to the extended sewer system as Reinout Vos, the Dutch ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Mico Mićić, Mayor of Bijeljina, officially opened an ORIO funded sewerage project that has been eight years in the making at a ribbon cutting ceremony in the city today.
Prior to the construction, Bijeljina’s residents were reliant on domestic on-site sanitation such as pit latrines and septic tanks whilst wastewater collected in the town ran off untreated into the Saba River. City Directorate for Construction & Development (CDCD) and Royal HaskoningDHV were tasked with the design and construction supervision of the 8,5 million Euro project to connect 15,000 of the city’s residents to proper sanitation.
Peter Duindam, project manager at Royal HaskoningDHV said of the opening: “Today marks the culmination of a great lot of hard work and solid engineering and I’m delighted to be here to celebrate the project’s success. We’re delighted to have been involved in this major project which will enhance and improve both quality of life and the economic development of the city.”
The 35 km of sewage pipelines will make a huge improvement to domestic sanitation in the city and reduce the threat of contamination of the city’s drinking water resources. The new system will also improve health of the River Saba and other connected waterways and support the continued economic growth of the city.
Approximately sixty percent of the project cost was provided through the ORIO program administered by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). The initiative seeks to share Dutch expertise and provide support for infrastructure projects across the world. The funding financed the design and construction of the sewerage network which links to a new wastewater treatment plant which was constructed separately.
Royal HaskoningDHV designed the sewerage system and supervised the project’s construction which was carried out in close cooperation with local consultant City Directorate of Construction and Development.
Peter added: “We also trained the local workforce in operation and maintenance of the sewerage network and wastewater treatment plant. Over 40 members of staff have been trained allowing the city improved control of the system following today’s handover ceremony.”
As well as the Dutch ambassador and the city’s mayor, the ceremony was attended by other representatives of Bijeljina’s city council, local municipalities and water authority.
A conference jointly hosted by the local water company and the Netherlands enterprise agency, will also be held on 23rd May. The Time for Clean Water conference will feature presentations and discussions of best practice and lessons learnt from the project. Peter will be speaking at the event and sharing insights into the importance of soft measures in capital investments.