€9 million investment for the sustainable disposal of farm waste and increased production of New Water
A €9 million project at the Sant’Antnin plant will allow farmers to dispose of farm waste in a more sustainable way, which will in turn lead to an increase in the production of New Water.
Thanks to the investment carried out, farmers will soon be able to transport farm waste which will be treated at the Sant’Antnin plant, elevating the pressure from the urban sewage infrastructure. For the past 20 years, untreated farm waste was dumped into the Water Services Corporation’s (WSC) sewage system, to the detriment of sewage plants that are not built to handle such type of waste.
It is estimated that some 60 bowser loads are discharged per week.
The Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Parliamentary Secretariat for European Funds embarked on a project together with the WSC to address this issue.
The Sant’Antnin plant will treat the waste before it arrives at the Ta’ Barkat plant, separating the solids and liquids. This process will allow the sewage purification plant at Ta’ Barkat to produce more New Water as the load diminishes. In addition, the improvement of the infrastructure and the treatment of this waste will help to address the problem of sewage discharge in Xgħajra.
Ahead of the opening of the new treatment facility, Minister Miriam Dalli, Minister Anton Refalo, Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi and WSC CEO Ivan Falzon visited the plant. Mr Falzon explained how the success of the New Water experience in the north is being replicated in the south, where the preparations and the infrastructural works have been more complex.
“With this investment we are addressing two areas: treating farm waste and the production of New Water. Following talks between the Government, the WSC and the Ministry for Agriculture, €2.4 million were invested in new equipment that offers farmers with an alternative method for farm waste disposal. This will allow such waste to be treated as opposed to it being dumped in the urban sewage infrastructure,” explained Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Sustainable Development Miriam Dalli.
This new process will drastically reduce the load on sewage treatment plants. Whilst safeguarding the infrastructure, the operations at Ta’ Barkat will be drastically improved, allowing an increase in the production of New Water.
“We will continue to build on the success of the New Water project,” said Minister Dalli. In 2020, New Water production increased from .75 m3 to 1.5 million m3 of high-quality water for irrigation.
Minister Anton Refalo said that “the Water Services Corporation has invested in special machinery to help in the process of treating the slurry that the livestock breeder would have brought from his farm, while the GAB (Government Agricultural Bioresources Agency) has invested in three mobile units that will operate on farms. All this has happened with the continuous collaboration of the relative cooperatives as well “.
“This machinery will be helping to provide a reassuring service to the livestock breeders and will be as efficient as possible,” said Minister Refalo. “This new system will start operating in the coming days. I am very pleased with this process which had been previously planned. As promised, we as a Government must always stand shoulder to shoulder with our livestock breeders.”
Parliamentary Secretary Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi said that the works on the Sant Antnin plant to treat sewage water are being carried out with an investment of around €5 million in European funds. He explained how this plant will be strengthening sewage management in the south of Malta so that we can increase the amount of water to be recycled. Thus, he remarked, that as a result we will continue strengthening the circular economy.
Parliamentary Secretary Zrinzo Azzopardi said that this is also helping us to take care of the marine environment by preventing waste water from flowing into the sea. He explained that this water recycling project is leading us to reach our goal, to generate more new water so that the recycled water will be used for agricultural purposes and thus reducing the pressure on ground water.