ONAS (National Office of Sanitation of Tunisia) has selected SUEZ and its partners, Segor, SCET Group and BIAT1, to operate the public wastewater treatment service for the governorates of Sfax, Gabès, Medenine and Tataouine. This is the first public-private partnership in the Tunisian water industry. The 10-year, €200 million concession contract will be financed by the World Bank for the restoration and extension of infrastructure, and by the Tunisian State for the operation and maintenance of this infrastructure.
Against the backdrop of environmental challenges and southern Tunisia's economic and social development, SUEZ and its partners will provide wastewater services for approximately 960,000 residents in the Sfax, Gabès, Medenine and Tataouine governorates.
The contract encompasses the operation and maintenance of the infrastructure, which has a treatment capacity of 39 million m3/year thanks to 14 wastewater treatment plants, 106 pumping stations and 1900 km of pipelines.
The 10-year, €200 million concession contract will be financed by the World Bank for the restoration and extension of infrastructure
It also provides for the renovation of existing wastewater treatment plants and additional work that will allow wastewater to be used for agriculture via tertiary water treatment processes such as ultraviolet light treatment and phosphorus removal.
The treatment of nitrogen and phosphorus contained in wastewater will prevent the build-up of algae and pollution in lakes, thus helping to better protect aquatic environments and reduce pressure on local biodiversity. Reusing wastewater and ensuring the water released into the natural environment is of a better quality are part of the sustainable development goals set by SUEZ in January earlier this year.
Finally, SUEZ and its partners will use an Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS) to assess how the contract complies with its social and environmental responsibilities. It will incorporate current Tunisian environmental standards, in line with the World Bank's own environmental principles.
Sabrina Soussan ,Chairman and CEO of SUEZ, said: "This first public-private partnership in Tunisia is a concrete example of what SUEZ was advocating in New York at the United Nations Water conference: I called for greater cooperation between the public and private sectors to address water needs in the years to come. I am delighted with this contract, which bears witness to the trust placed in SUEZ by the Tunisian authorities. The Group wishes to support Tunisia in this formative project, which will make the country the standard bearer for sanitation management in Africa."
Established in Africa since the Sherbine water treatment plant was constructed in Egypt in 1948, SUEZ has built more than 500 drinking water and sanitation facilities, which serve most of Africa's capital cities. SUEZ is particularly active today in Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Senegal and Ivory Coast.