Malta still on target
to meet EU environmental obligations
The Ministry for Resources and the Infrastructure yesterday
replied to press reports that cited EU Environment Commissioner Margot
Wallstrom saying she expected accession countries to put a lot of investment
into setting up waste water treatment plants, in order to improve bathing
water quality, and that Malta will be facing "big problems"
in complying with the EUs bathing water quality regulations.
During negotiations with the EU Commission on the Environment Chapter,
the Ministry explains in a statement released yesterday, that Malta
agreed to be fully compliant with the urban waste water treatment directive
by March 2007.
The Ministry elaborates, "Malta is on target to meet this commitment.
By the end of March 2007, all waste water will be treated before it
is discharged into the marine environment and thus Malta will comply
with the Bathing Water Quality Directive.
"In line with the Sewerage Master Plan, the Ministry for Resources
and Infrastructure is committed to the construction of new sewage treatment
plants in Gozo and in the North of Malta, by December, 2005; and another
new sewage treatment plant in the South of the Island by March 2007.
With regards to the plants in Gozo and in the North, the financing has
already been identified. Discussions are currently underway with financial
institutions to identify the financing for the South area treatment
Meanwhile, the Gozo plant, estimated to cost in the region of EUR9 million,
will be co-financed by the EU and national funds. The tender document
is already in draft form and has been submitted to the Department of
Contracts for vetting before it is referred to the EU Commission for
approval and eventual publication. By December, 2005, the new plant
will come on line and raw sewage discharges through the outfall at Ras
il-Hobz will be discontinued.
The ministry adds, "The North Sewage treatment plant and related
infrastructure, which is estimated to cost EUR12.3 million, is undergoing
EIA consultation. This project will be financed under the 5th Italian
Financial Protocol. An invitation for the submission of an expression
of interest has been issued in accordance with the procedures laid down
in the Protocol. This plant will be operational by the end of 2005 and
the raw sewage discharges at ic-Cumnija to the north of the island,
will eventually be eliminated.
"Discussions are planned with financial institutions regarding
the financing of the South sewage treatment plant, which is estimated
to cost 70 million Euros. Recently talks were held between senior officials
from the Works Division of the Ministry for Resources and Infrastructure
and a delegation of the European Investment Bank, about the possibility
of loan financing for this project, which is the major component of
the Sewerage Master Plan."
The Ministry explains that the Environmental Impact Assessment for the
project is expected to be commissioned within the coming weeks following
consultations with the Malta Environment and Planning Authority.
The ministry adds, "These implementation plans are in line with
Maltas commitments with the EU on the quality of bathing water
is still on target to meet these obligations."