At least 888 households have been hooked up to the simplified sewerage system constructed by the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area Sanitation and Water Project (GAMA-SWP) in Ashaiman Development, an official has disclosed.
Eng. Gabriel Engman, Sanitation Engineer for the GAMA project, said in an interview during the MOLE XXXIV Water Sanitation and Hygiene Conference in Jirapa in the Upper West Region earlier this month that the facility has the capacity to serve more households within the Ashaiman Newtown and the Tema Council (TDC) Quarters.
The GAMA project took advantage of an existing waste treatment plant constructed in the 1970s for treating sewerage from the community which had been disused.
“The project rehabilitated this sewerage treatment plant, constructed a 51-km pipeline of simplified sewerage networks , including household sewerage connections, laid lateral sewer and collector lines and constructed household chambers in Ashaiman Newtown,” Engman stated.
He said the project also rehabilitated the existing TDC Quarters sewer network, including the replacement of weak/broken sewer lines; rehabilitated defective septic tanks and household connection chambers, communal septic tanks and the defunct pumping station, among others.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo commissioned the plant in August 2023, with a 20-year lifespan when in full use.
The facility has a screening chamber which sorts out debris and floating materials, from liquid waste that flows into the sewerage collection wells for storage.
The system also has an up-flow blanket filtration tank in which organic fraction of wastewater is converted into biogas, and a disinfection tank where pathogens are destroyed as well as finishing ponds where the wastewater passes through before being discharged into a water body.
In all, the plant has the capacity to treat 1,800 cubic metre of liquid waste per day to serve some 4,805 households in Ashaiman New Town and TDC Quarters.
“Before the new system, human waste disposal for the 24,311 residents of the two communities has been a challenge. Most people relied heavily on public toilets. Others tied their faeces in polythene bags and disposed in refuse bins, while open defaecation in bushes, open fields and drains was the order of the day,” said the GAMA official.
Engman added that the situation posed a serious challenge to environmental sanitation improvement efforts and the health threat to the people, but the treatment plant is expected to cause a transformation in waste disposal and improve the sanitation situation in the communities.
He said GAMA has constructed a similar facility at Bankuman with the capacity of 1,600 cubic metres per day, to serve some 3,100 households. The two sewerage systems cost 6.6 million U.S. dollars, funded by the World Bank under the GAMA project.
“Simplified sewerage systems are feasible and viable for the country, and based on the gravity and the area’s flexibility for engineering, it can be done. One key requirement is the community buy-in, else, you will complete the project, but households won’t connect to it,” said Engman.
Since the inception of the GAMA project in 2015 and the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area (GKMA) project in 2021, 59,000 households in low-income urban communities in Accra and Kumasi have been provided with improved household toilets, with 598 gender-friendly for schools and health facilities in the two cities.
Also, at least 15,000 households in low-income urban communities in the Greater Accra Region have been connected with regular water supply through the GAMA project as of the end of October.