Be’ah, the Sultanate’s solid waste management authority, has selected Suez, the French-based international water and wastewater utility giant, to operate a hazardous waste treatment and disposal complex in Suhar — the first of its kind of Oman.
The facility, which is tipped to evolve into a national hub for hazardous waste treatment, will also be weighed for its potential to support a unique Waste-to-Energy scheme in future stages of its development.
Paris-headquartered Suez was selected from among an array of international players competing for the prestigious contract. The 42-months contract covers the reception, storage and landfilling of around 42,000 tonnes of hazardous industrial waste per year — the bulk of it generated by industries operating within Sohar Port & Freezone and the nearby Sohar Industrial Estate.
Significantly, the contract award marks the first credible and concrete effort by authorities to address the prodigious amounts of hazardous industrial waste that has been generated by the Sultanate’s expanding industrial base. A ‘Waste Characterization and Quantification Report’ commissioned by Be’ah in 2013 estimates the amount of hazardous waste generation at around 1.5 million tonnes annually.
In Suhar, presently the biggest of Oman’s industrial hubs, Be’ah has made headway in developing the underpinnings of an integrated hazardous waste facility to be rolled out in a phased manner.
Phase 1, centering on the construction of a temporary slag storage facility at Liwa adjoining the industrial port, has been completed. Phase 2 envisions a series of landfills, solidification plant, organic storage, weighbridges and related infrastructure. Phase 3, focusing on the centrepiece of the project — an Integrated Waste Treatment Facility — will be implemented by Suez as part of their latest contract with Be’ah.
“The Suez-operated plant is the initial phase of this treatment facility, which will have pretreatment units, including a waste solidification facility with a capacity of 100,000 tonnes per annum (tpa), alongside a physico-chemical treatment plant with a 1,000 tpa capacity.”
The utility says it will also work closely with Be’ah for the implementation of a blueprint to improve hazardous waste management in Oman, “from the receipt and storage of the industrial waste produced to its treatment and recovery”.
Importantly, Suez will also explore the potential to develop an ‘Energy-from-Waste’ plant with a capacity of around 50,000 tonnes tpa, The initiative, if indeed found viable and implemented, will be the first of its kind in the Sultanate to use industrial hazardous waste as a fuel resource. Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP), the nation’s sole buyer of new power and water capacity, is also procuring a 50MW ‘Waste to Energy’ scheme based on municipal waste as the fuel resource.
With the award of the hazardous waste treatment contract, Suez has ramped up his footprint in Oman’s waste management services area. The French giant is already undertaking four contracts for the management of several municipal waste landfills, including those located in Al Amerat and Barka. Subsidiaries of the Group have also been involved in developing Oman’s potable water desalination capacity, having constructed the Barka II desalination plant in 2009 (120,000 m3/day capacity), and more recently, with the launch of Oman’s biggest reverse osmosis desalination plant (281,000 m3/day capacity) in Barka, which came into operation in June this year.