EU-funded waste water treatment plant opens in Macedonia

A new waste water treatment plant was inaugurated in Radoviš, south-eastern Macedonia, on July 18, part of the EU for YOU programme. The campaign, led by the Head of the Delegation of the EU to FYROM, Slovenian diplomat Samuel Žbogar, seeks to raise awareness and inform the public about EU assistance to Macedonia.

The plant has cost a total of six million euros, of which five million euros was provided by the EU. Total EU financial assistance to the country for environmental purposes amounts to more than 80 million euros under IPA I (2007-2013) with further support of 100 million euros planned under the next IPA II financial allocation. The plant is expected to achieve the quality standards required under the EU Urban Waste-Water Treatment Directive, as well as Macedonian legislation, and treat waste water for up to 25,000 residents.

Emerging Europe got in touch with the EU Delegation in Skopje to enquire about the newly-built waste water treatment plant. We were told that the plant created jobs for a total of fifteen people, including laboratory technicians and operators. German waste water management company WTE Wassertechnik GmbH and Macedonian company Vardar Gradba were involved in the construction of the plant and were supervised by Bulgarian Rutex Ltd and Czech Garnets Consulting. The EU Delegation stated that the biggest challenge in Macedonia was to implement new water tariffs according to the rules of the local regulator. Earlier this year, the municipality of Radoviš had to adopt a new water tariff, in order to ensure the plant’s sustainable operation and maintenance.

“Clean and healthy water will be used for irrigation of the agricultural land, which is essential for the production of healthy food. The project also includes the construction of a new collector system and the reconstruction of the sewerage network,” said Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev at the plant’s inauguration. The Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, the Central Financing and Contracting Department at the Ministry of Finance and Plavaja, a local public communal enterprise, were all involved in the construction of the plant.

Radoviš is now the fourth municipality in Macedonia to have secured EU funding for a waste water treatment plant, along with Prilep, Strumica and Kičevo. The municipalities of Bitola and Tetovo, amongst others, are expected to follow too. The EU Delegation told Emerging Europe that it is expecting to launch the tender later this year and start the construction of a waste water treatment plant by mid-2019 in Bitola. Tetovo will see the launch of a tender in late 2018 and construction is expected to start in the second half of 2019.

The EU Delegation added that there are also plans to build a plant in the capital, Skopje. Construction will start in 2020 and finish at end of 2022, yet this project is will most likely not be financed under IPA II. However, the EU is currently co-financing the construction of the collector along the river sides to connect the future plant to the sewerage network. The Swiss State Secretariat for economic affairs is financing the construction of a waste water treatment plant in Kočani, in the eastern part of Macedonia.

Photo: Glas Press