Jordan’s Water and Irrigation Ministry has invited bids from engineering companies to carry out project management services for the expansion of its As-Samra wastewater treatment plant.

The expansion will increase the capacity of the project from 267,000 cubic metres a day (cm/d) to 364,800 cm/d. The plant will be built on a build-own-operate basis.

The expansion project will cost $229m to build. The US-based fund Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) will provide $98m towards funding the project. A banking syndicate led by Jordan’s Arab Bank is providing $97m. The remaining 15 per cent will be repaid by the project company through the operation of the original project.

Payments from the project are based on availability and treatment. A minimum payment is guaranteed by the water ministry for availability of 160,000 cm/d for the existing plant and 220,000 cm/d once the expansion project becomes operational in 2014. A treatment payment is paid on top of this value. The payments are guaranteed by the Finance Ministry.

The original As-Samra wastewater project comprised a series of waste stabilisation ponds in 1985 with a capacity of 67,000 cm/d. The government decided to replace the plant with a more technologically-advanced structure with a greater capacity.

The government tendered for the construction of a 267,000 cm/d wastewater treatment plant in early 2001. The plant was offered as a 25-year concession with a build-own-transfer structure. The As-Samra wastewater treatment plant company is a special purpose vehicle created by France’s Suez Environnement and the US’ Morganti.

The project cost $169m to build, around half of which was supplied by the United States Agency for International Development ($78.1m). The remainder came from government resources ($13.9m), the project company ($17m) and banks ($60m).

Construction began in 2004 and concluded in April 2008. While the existing project has a capacity of 267,000 cm/d, it currently cannot treat more than 220,000 cm/d.

The expansion project was announced in early 2009. An advisory group comprising the Netherlands’ KPMG, the UK’s Atkins and UK-based firm Allen & Overy was selected to work on the expansion project at the end of 2009.