Iraq Update: Work continues on Karbala water plant

At the city's center, the plant is located near one of Shia Islam's holiest shrines. In addition to providing water to city residents, potable water is supplied seasonally to an estimated three million pilgrims...

WASHINGTON, DC, June 24, 2005 -- The following information is contained in a weekly fact sheet that highlights overall accomplishments and some weekly activities from USAID's reconstruction efforts in Iraq.

Highlights This Week:
Workers continued to install equipment and run tests as work moves forward on the refurbishment of a water treatment plant in Karbala.

The plant is located in the city's center, near one of Shia Islam's holiest shrines. In addition to providing water to city residents, potable water is supplied seasonally to an estimated three million pilgrims. The plant's original clarifiers were replaced with four undersized clarifiers that did not treat water to standards needed for efficient downstream treatment. Some of the plant's processes were becoming overloaded by sediment. Marginal disinfection was effective with most bacteria, but was less effective with pathogens that cause amoebic dysentery, a public health risk exacerbated by the seasonal influx of millions of pilgrims.

Because it was in such a dire state of disrepair, the design originally called for replacement of the clarifiers rather than repair, but local governing authorities disagreed. A compromise was reached to install compact clarifier units adjacent to the existing clarifiers, allowing for future rehabilitation of the existing plant. This project will install 10 compact water treatment plants, with a total capacity of 25 million gallons per day. The project will also enlarge the existing inlet works and associated pump station.

Recently, workers completed installation of the cable tray at the intake structure and the low lift pumping station. Sand media is being placed in the compact treatment unit filters. Main generator testing has begun at the low lift station.

Four of the compact units could be ready to receive flow as early as July 1 if the plant provides adequate operating personnel. The project is now 54 percent finished and will be complete in September 2005.

Major Accomplishments to Date:
-- Nationwide: Repaired various sewage lift stations and water treatment units.
-- Baghdad: Expanding and rehabilitating one water treatment plant and constructing another to increase capacity by approximately 90 million gallons per day; rehabilitating sewage treatment plants.
-- A major wastewater treatment plant in Baghdad began operating in June of 2004; this is the first major sewage plant in the country to operate in over 12 years.
-- The sewage treatment system in Baghdad, barely functioning for years before the conflict, will be restored to almost 100 percent capacity, serving 80 percent of Baghdad's population.
-- Standby generators are being installed at 41 Baghdad water facilities.
-- South: Rehabilitated parts of the Sweet Water Canal system, including repairing breaches, cleaning the main reservoirs, and refurbished 14 water treatment plants around Basrah serving 1.75 million people.
-- South Central: Rehabilitating two water plants and four sewage plants.
-- Completed the rehabilitation of a sewage plant in Babil Governorate.
-- Sewage plants in An Najaf, Al Qadisiyah, Karbala, and Babil Governorates will serve 440,000 upon completion.
-- Water treatment in Najaf and Babil will serve residents and visitors at Iraq's holiest shrines.
-- North: Completed rehabilitation of Kirkuk water plant and continuing refurbishment of sewage plant near Mosul.

USAID's goal is to improve the efficiency and reliability of existing water and wastewater treatment facilities, especially those in the south where water quantity and quality are particularly low. An anticipated 11.8 million Iraqis will benefit from USAID's $600 million in water and sanitation projects.

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The above report can be found in "Iraq Updates: Weekly Update #34": www.usaid.gov/iraq/updates/jun05/iraq_fs34_062305.pdf

For a full update of what's been accomplished to date in Iraq, see: www.usaid.gov/iraq/

For USAID's report on Afghanistan, see: www.usaid.gov/locations/asia_near_east/afghanistan/

For its report on Tsunami Reconstruction, see: www.usaid.gov/locations/asia_near_east/tsunami/

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