On September 14, 2023, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through its Community Support Program (CSP), celebrated the completion of the rehabilitation of the Aaitanit Wastewater Treatment Plant in the Beqaa. In partnership with the Beqaa Water Establishment (BWE) and the Bouhaira Union of Municipalities, this $1.5 million intervention treats water for the villages of Aaitanit, Baaloul, Qaraoun, and Machghara, reaching more than 23,700 residents. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by Minister of Energy and Water Dr. Walid Fayyad, Minister of Environment Dr. Nasser Yassin, USAID Lebanon Mission Director Julie Southfield, representatives from the BWE and the Bouhaira Union of Municipalities, and mayors of the benefiting villages. Minister of Water and Energy Dr. Walid Fayyad began his speech by praising this remarkable achievement and adding: ‘This integrated project aligns with the direct implementation of Law 63, which was issued in 2016 for protecting the Litani River Basin from deteriorating environmental conditions. Our wastewater sector, now under the jurisdiction of the water establishments as per the law, is in dire need of every bit of assistance. This support is invaluable and ensures the continued functionality of these crucial facilities in the face of severe financial constraints. Today marks a significant step forward in our mission to provide reliable and sustainable water and wastewater services to our communities.’ In her remarks, USAID Lebanon Mission Director Julie Southfield stated, ‘Thanks to this $1.5 million intervention, more than 19,000 Lebanese residents and 4,700 Syrian refugees in the towns of Aitanit, Qaraaoun, Machghara, and Baaloul will benefit from cleaner irrigation water and a cleaner environment. This plant is one of many initiatives being undertaken by the $100 million Community Support Program to improve the delivery of essential services and enhance economic opportunities to reduce tensions in underserved communities.’ Originally constructed with USAID funding in 2010 with a capacity to treat 5000 m3 of wastewater per day, the Aitanit wastewater facility was and continues to be operated by the Bouhaira Union of Municipalities and the BWE. In 2020, USAID, through CSP, extended its support by rehabilitating the facility’s equipment including the installation of new pumps, screens, and electro-mechanical systems and upgrading its sludge management by providing new thickening and dewatering equipment. This has reduced the sludge volume by 95 percent and prevented raw sewage overflow into the Litani river. USAID also equipped the plant with a modern wastewater laboratory to analyze samples and monitor the treatment process and is funding the operation and maintenance of the wastewater treatment facility until the end of 2024. USAID is also building the capacities of technicians from the BWE and the Bouhaira Union of Municipalities to operate and sustain the facility. Under its wastewater management component, the USAID-funded CSP activity is also implementing major wastewater management interventions in Nmairiye (South Lebanon) and Bchaale (North Lebanon), both of which help serve more than 75,000 residents by treating more 12,000 m3 of wastewater per day. The USAID-funded Community Support Program (CSP) provides assistance to Lebanon’s most underserved communities by improving the delivery of essential services and enhancing economic opportunities to improve lives and reduce tensions.

Source: National News Agency – Lebanon