For all its appearance as a ‘first world’ country, it’s a bit surprising that much of Saudi Arabia’s sewage is still handled by septic tanks, even in major cities.

Arab News reports on efforts to get homes and businesses into the developing sewage grid. While the government is picking up much of the cost, the National Water Company will be charging SR 5,000 (US $1,333) for new connections and SR 2,500 (US $666) to clean and close existing tanks. That is a lot of money for the urban poor, but perhaps manageable by their landlords.

Particularly in the face of flash flooding, as has become somewhat ‘normal’ in recent years, overflowing sewage tanks have become a public health issue. At the least, overflowing leads to providing new breeding grounds for mosquitoes — vectors for Dengue Fever, already a problem in the Kingdom. At worst, there are other diseases, including Cholera, that can be transmitted through waste water.

SR 5,000 for sewage connection
JEDDAH: P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR

The National Water Company said it would charge SR 5,000 for giving sewage connections to buildings and SR 2,500 for cleaning and closing the existing sewage tanks.

“We’ll allow home owners to pay the amount in installments over a period of 36 months,” said Luay Ahmed Al-Musallam, CEO of the company. In comments published by Al-Madinah Arabic daily yesterday, he said the subsidized amount is charged based on a Cabinet decision. “The actual cost will be much higher,” he said.

Al-Musallam said the unified fees would be applied for sewage connections in all regions of the Kingdom. He disclosed that more than 20,000 homes in Sharaie districts east of Makkah are ready for connections.

“Efforts are underway to provide 20,000 more connections, bringing the total to 40,000,” he said, adding that it would benefit 300,000 citizens and residents in the city. Sharaie project was carried out at a cost SR 840 million.


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