Dubai awards $3.26bn sewers contract to Parsons

Facility to serve city’s needs for 100 years, with 70km of tunnels at depths of up to 90m

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Dubai has awarded the US-headquartered engineering firm Parsons Corporation a AED12 billion ($3.26bn) contract for a new sewer system, which is expected to serve the city’s needs for a century.

The contract was signed by Hussain Nasser Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality, and Jaafar Halawi, Parsons’ director for industrial projects in the Middle East and North Africa, according to the UAE state news agency WAM.

The Deep Tunnel Sewerage System, the first of its kind in the region, will replace more than 121 sewage pumping stations spread across Dubai following its completion in late 2020, Lootah said.

It will have 70km of tunnels and an additional 140km of sewerage links running underground at depths of 25 to 90 metres, he added.

The projected cost of AED12 billion includes the design, implementation and operation of the project for 100 years, Lootah said.

The two-phased implementation stage will take four years, with the first tunnel in the Deira area and another in Bur Dubai, which will transfer sewage flows to treatment plants based in Al Warsan, Bur Dubai and Jebel Ali. Additional phases could also be implemented in order to serve new development zones or link the two regions of Deira and Bur Dubai.

While traditional sewage systems with pumping stations and main lines usually require heavy maintenance and last between five and 20 years, the deep tunnel system bypasses the pumping stations and main lines, Lootah said.

This eliminates the odours and emissions associated with the traditional systems as well as unpleasant maintenance tasks such as cleaning sediments in the sewer lines and stations within the city. Since sediments do not pile up in the new system, the decaying of installed infrastructure is also slowed down considerably.

The new system will provide a low-cost, long-term solution, saving millions of dirhams in maintenance and operating costs, as well as reducing the electricity consumed for sewage disposal by more than 30%, Lootah explained. The locations of existing sewage plants and facilities, which the new system makes redundant, can be transformed into commercial or residential areas, or public gardens.

The new system will be built using the latest tunneling technology, which minimises disturbance for residents and reduces damage to roads and other utilities. The services provided by Parsons include feasibility studies, preliminary design and preparation of an IPO, followed by project management in detailed design stages.

“The project is of a great importance for Dubai Municipality and for its role in developing the city of Dubai as a global city,” said Mark Walsh, president of Parsons Group, in a statement to WAM. “Parsons has had much successes in the management of the most developed and difficult sewage projects worldwide. We look forward to providing our services for the Dubai Municipality.”

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