Water Services Corporation Wins Malta Engineering Excellence Award

The Presentation Ceremony of the Malta Engineering Excellence Awards 2016 was held on Thursday 1st December 2016 at the Verdala Palace under the Distinguished Patronage of H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta.The Industrial Excellence Award is awarded to organisations, companies or individuals who have demonstrated excellence in their engineering work through a recent project. 

The Water Services Corporation through Structural Funds 07-13, implemented an innovative project whereby the treated wastewater which is currently being discharged into the sea, is further polished to obtain high quality water. 

The ‘New Water’ project is expected to treat around a third of the wastewater generated in the Maltese Islands at Ras il-Ħobż in Gozo, Taċ-Ċumnija in the North of Malta and at Ta’ Barkat in the South East of Malta. This project will provide about 7 million cubic metres annually, approximately 1 million of which will be available for managed aquifer recharge (MAR) with the rest being dedicated to agriculture, industry, landscaping and recreation. 

Following three years of pilot testing a process based on a “multiple-barrier” approach was used. After the physical, chemical and biological stages used in the current sewage treatment plants, the secondary effluent will be further treated in three phases namely ultra-filtration, reverse osmosis, and advanced oxidation.This three-phase treatment of new water is revolutionary and Malta will only be the third country in the world to adopt it following Israel and Singapore. The plants were designed in-house by the WSC engineers hence the awarding of the prize. 

Moreover, as part of a Managed Aquifer Recharge initiative, the Water Services Corporation will inject New Water by the coast to create a barrier to arrest the lateral and vertical sea water intrusion into the Mean Sea Level Aquifer and stop the natural groundwater flow to the sea. Currently, a pilot project to demonstrate MAR in practice is being carried out at Ta’Barkat Sewage Treatment Plant under the FP7 MARSOL Project. It is envisaged that in the next five years, this MAR Project will be up-scaled inland in the South East of Malta utilizing Cohesion Funds. 

As part of the Structural Funding period 2007-2013 as well as the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EARDF), Measure 125, funds were used to design and lay almost ten kilometres of pipelines which link the three above mentioned plants to secondary water supply reservoirs to areas where the NEW Water is intended to be used. These areas include Kerċem, Xewkija and Għajnsielem areas in Gozo, Taċ-Ċumnija, Qammieh, Miżieb, Pwales, Binġemma areas in the North of Malta and Marsascala, Ħaż-Żabbar, Żejtun, and Bulebel areas in the South East of Malta. Further extensions of these systems are planned for next five years which will mean more effective use of this new water resource making it available to a wider client base. 

Another innovative project carried out by the Water Services Corporation was the design, construction and implementation of a small mobile unit intended to further polish, either treated wastewater or already polished treated wastewater to the required quality according to the specific crop water requirements. This plant has been designed entirely by the WSC engineers and can operate also using solar energy.

L to R: WSC Engineers Gilbert Costa, Dr. Paul Micallef, David Sacco, CEO Charles Brincat, Mark Perez and Anthony Tanti