Developer to deal with sewage issue

Residents who drive through stagnant pools of sewage in Dubai's International City say it's time for waste plant expansion.

Dubai, 3rd July 2008.  Floods receeded at the Russia Cluster in International City.  (Jeffrey E. Biteng / The National) *** Local Caption ***  JB0428-Flood.jpg
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DUBAI // The sewage leaks that have regularly plagued residents of International City should become a thing of the past when work to double the size of the development's waste treatment plant is completed in the next few days. Nakheel, the master developer of the community, which is home to 60,000 residents, has promised that the situation should improve when the expanded treatment facility at the edge of the England and Russia clusters was completed by the end of the week.

Metito, a waste water management company, was appointed in May to double the plant's capacity from 5,000 cubic metres a day. A spokesman for Nakheel said: "I think the work on the sewage treatment plant will have a great effect, and should be able to cope with the demands of the growing population in International City." This will be welcome news to residents of the Russia cluster, who have had to endure sewage floods during the past fortnight. Roads, pavements and a car park were completely submerged earlier in the week as litres of sewage water bubbled up through drains.

The waste crept to within a few feet of the entrances of some homes in the neighbouring England cluster, while motorists had to drive through large pools of sewage. The situation had improved by yesterday, when Nakheel employed a specialised team to pump out the sewage and clean up. The pools of water had largely subsided, leaving green slime on roads and in the car park, and a faint smell of sewage in the air. Residents said the situation had been unbearable as the sun beat down on the stagnant pools, attracting swarms of flies.

Laura Carr, from Britain, lives in the China cluster of International City, but still had to travel through the sewage while commuting to and from her office in Bur Dubai. "The smell is so overpowering it actually makes you retch," she said. "I have to turn of the air vent in my car. I would expect something like this to happen in an older part of town, where the systems weren't built to cope with many people. But International City isn't even a couple of years old. It's ridiculous.

"I know renting here is a bit cheaper than other parts of the city, but not cheap enough to be expected to drive through sewage in the morning," she said. Husain, an Indian who did not want to give his last name, said he was worried about the health implications of sewage being left on the street for two weeks. "You hear about all sorts of health problems associated with something like this; it is the origin of many airborne diseases," he said. "I hope that this doesn't happen again: my contract is up for renewal soon and, although I really like it here, if this happens again, it might make me think twice about staying here."

Two weeks ago, several large pools of sewage formed after drains overflowed on the main road near the Italy and Spain clusters. Pools have been forming intermittently since a larger spill in May. The population of International City is expected to reach between 100,000 and 150,000. * The National