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€60m sewage treatment plant inaugurated

A €60 million plant which treats 80 per cent of sewage produced in Malta was inaugurated today by the Prime Minister.

The commissioning of the plant, at Ta' Barkat, near Xgħajra, means that Malta has become the first Mediterranean country which treats all of its sewage before dumping it into the sea.

Two smaller plants were commissioned last year and two years ago at Iċ-Ċumnija, near Anchor Bay, and in Gozo. The total bill, of €108 million, was partly met by the European Union. EU co-funding on the Barkat plant alone was 85%.

The new plant can also produce one megawatt of electricity per hour. The treated water is pumped one kilometre out into the sea, although officials said it is clean enough to be pumped on the coast.

Dr Gonzi hailed the environmental benefit of the project and the importance for Malta, from the health and tourism points of view, that the sea around Malta was clean.

The project included the building of a gallery all the way from Marsa to take sewage from the central part of Malta. The plant also has enough storage facilities to ensure there are no overflows if the plant has to be shut down for up to six hours.

Dr Gonzi said the government had taken the decision to switch the funds used on subsidies for water and electricity to projects which were beneficial for the environment, such as this.

He also recalled how Xaghjra used to suffer from a constant stench of sewage whereas the residents were now enjoying fresh air and clean waters.

Xgħajra Mayor Anthony Valvo also welcomed the project.