gaza sewage gross 298.88.
(photo credit: AP)
Ahead of the winter and fearing that sewage cesspools in Gaza could once again spill over and flood nearby villages, the IDF Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA) has stepped up efforts to enable the Palestinians to complete the construction of a new sewage plant in the coming months.
Under the direction of the World Bank and with the financial support of the United States, France, Belgium and Sweden, the Palestinians have been working for the past year to establish a new sewage purification plant just south of Beit Hanun in northern Gaza.
The new plant, at a cost of some $60 million, will help take the load off the current cesspools near the village of Beit Lahiya. Those cesspools overflowed last March, killing four local residents and causing severe ecological damage. Defense officials explained that the decision to expedite the construction was made despite Hama's control over Gaza.
"We are doing this to help the Palestinians and to prevent another overflow," a defense official said. "There are security risks involved, but this is an important project and it is our job to figure out how to deal with them."
On Thursday, CLA head Col. Nir Press met with officials from the World Bank, as well as the Israeli and Palestinian water authorities, to discuss ways to speed up the construction. According to Press, the Palestinians have finished digging ditches for the new sewage plant and recently began laying large pipes to connect the facility with the Umm Nasser plant that overflowed in March.
To help facilitate the new plant's construction, the IDF has tracked down non-metal pipes that can be used in the facility without fear of their going toward Kassam rocket production, as metal pipes imported into Gaza have in the past.
In addition, the IDF has allowed the Palestinian water authority officials to work alongside the border fence near Beit Hanun, even though the construction has been used in the past as a cover for the launching of rockets and attacks against Israel.