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WASHINGTON, USA — The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a $246.5 million loan to finance the first phase of a $546.5 million, three-phase program aimed at improving Trinidad and Tobago’s environmental conditions by reducing uncontrolled discharge of untreated wastewater.

Phase I will focus on the construction of two wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), in San Fernando and Malabar catchments respectively, and their attendant trunk sewers, as well as on the institutional strengthening of the Water and Sewage Authority (WASA) through personnel training and implementation of key actions to improve commercial management services and corporate governance.

Planned works during this five-year-stage will include construction of 26 km of sewerage network. Through these activities, the Malabar and San Fernando population currently served in the two catchments will be covered by the new WWTP systems. Additionally, 90 percent of the wastewater treated by the WWTPs will be meeting water pollution norms and have a zero or positive net impact on downstream water quality.

“The institutional and policy reforms will allow WASA to modernize its institutional and corporate governance and operate under a more sustainable financial arrangement, as well as to adjust from operating many small and medium size wastewater treatment plants to running a smaller number of significantly larger units,” project team leader Evan Cayetano said.

Phase II — to be supported by a $100 million IDB loan — will continue institutional strengthening efforts and integrate the sewerage network for connection to the new WWTPs.

Phase III — with $200 million in lending — will expand the wastewater collection system to cover the population in catchment areas that are currently using septic tanks and other individual sanitation solutions to treat wastewater.

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