Local contractor Kharafi National has started work on the project to expand the Sulaibiya wastewater treatment and reclamation plant in Kuwait from 375,000 to 600,000 cubic metres per day (cm/d).

Kharafi National has begun construction work, and is using reverse osmosis (RO) membranes and technology from US firm GE.

The original Sulaibiya wastewater plant was commissioned in 2004, and in 2012 Kuwait’s Council of Ministers approved plans to expand the capacity of the country’s largest wastewater treatment to 600,000 cm/d.

The wastewater treatment and reclamation plant was the first infrastructure facility of its size in Kuwait to be executed on a build-own-transfer (BOT) basis, and was the largest of its kind using RO in the reclamation of domestic wastewater.

The Sulaibiya scheme was developed as a BOT project by Utilities Development Company (UDC), currently the only privately owned wastewater treatment plant in Kuwait. UDC was established in 2001 by the local MA Kharafi & Sons and US company Ionics (now a part of GE). The plant was constructed by MA Kharafi and Kharafi National.

The expansion to 600,000 cm/d is urgently needed in Kuwait. Within a few years of operation, the Sulaibiya plant was operating in excess of its capacity, with a daily throughput of more than 500,000 cm/d.