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Metito’s Al-Arish desalination plant operational by 2021 end - Daily News Egypt

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Metito’s Al-Arish desalination plant operational by 2021 end

Al-Arish desalination plant is expected to process 100,000 cbm/day of seawater, with total first phase investments exceeding EGP 60m, says Madwar

Metito provides customised, comprehensive and advanced solutions from desalination and re-using water, industrial solutions, investing in water and wastewater assets, and structuring Greenfield and Brownfield schemes under project finance structures.

One of rhe water management solutions company’s most recent projects is a joint venture with Hassan Allam Construction. It saw the completion of the Al-Mahsamma agricultural drainage treatment, recycling, and reuse plant in Ismailia governorate, inaugurated by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

Daily News Egypt sat down with Karim Madwar, Managing Director for Metito Africa, to learn more on the company’s business and expansion strategy in water management solutions.

Can you tell us about Metito’s businesses in Egypt?

Metito is the leading provider of choice for total intelligent water management solutions in the emerging markets, with operations covering three business areas: design and build, chemicals, and utilities.

Our most recent project is a Metito-Hassan Allam Construction joint-venture of the Al Mahsamma agricultural drainage treatment, recycling, and reuse plant in Ismailia governorate, which was inaugurated by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. The plant, which was under the supervision of the Armed Forces, is one of the largest of its kind, with a capacity of 1m cbm/day and was built over an area of 42,000 sqm.

The plant is considered unique globally, as it contributes to water preservation through the reuse of 1 million m3 of irrigation wastewater that was otherwise disposed of in Al Temsah Lake, west of the Suez Canal, in previous years. The plant will also contribute to conserving the natural ecology and fish production of Al Temsah Lake, as the drainage wastewater will be treated and not discarded untreated in the lake as was previously the case.

Metito also recently announced the completion of three wastewater treatment plants in the governorates of Kafr El-Sheikh, Gharbeya, and Assiut using Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR) and Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR) technologies. It is part of the framework of implementing the Egyptian government’s plan to provide and enhance sanitation services in rural areas across different governorates.

Work is currently ongoing at the seawater desalination plant in North Sinai’s Al-Arish City, with operations at the plant expected to begin by the end of 2021. Al-Arish seawater desalination plant is expected to desalinate 100,000 cbm/day of seawater, with total investments in the first phase exceeding USD 100m.

Metito aims to continue its effective role in promoting big-budget large-scale infrastructure plans, set by the Egyptian government, through the application of advanced sustainable technologies that can further preserve our national water resources and protect the surrounding environment for a more sustainable future.

Who are your partners in Egypt and in which projects?

We have a wide client base, including in the private and public sectors. We are strong advocates of private-public partnership, and so many of our projects are with the public sector across different sectors including tourism, housing, and the like.

We have successfully pioneered the Build Own Operate Transfer (BOOT) Model in sub-Saharan Africa and in the Middle East, and this has proven to be a win-win to all involved. By definition, the BOOT model places the point of responsibility for the entire project on a single entity and since it is a long-term contract, it provides a full life-cycle vision. The developer is naturally incentivised to come up with the best long-term solution.

What other Metito projects are being implemented in other countries today?

Metito is very active in Africa and Asia in general. In Africa, Metito is developing the first Bulk Surface Water Supply project in Sub Saharan Africa under a concession model in Kigali – Rwanda. This is landmark project by all standards that will provide over 40% of the potable water requirements for Rwanda in the most sustainable manner.

In Asia and Middle East, most recently Metito was awarded some of the most prestigious projects in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, namely The King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) seawater treatment and desalination plant partially powered by solar energy is worth around SAR 220m with a capacity of 30,000 cbm/day, and a design capacity of 60,000 cbm/day. 

A consortium led by Metito Group, which comprises Saudi Arabia’s Mowah and Egypt’s EPC contractor Orascom Construction, has been awarded and begun construction on the first independent Sewage Treatment Plant Project (ISTP) in Saudi Arabia, in Dammam West, with a capacity of 350,000 cubic metres per day.

Could you share any updates on New Alamein City’s wastewater treatment plants and networks, scheduled to open in February 2021?

The project is under construction now. The plant will treat the waste water for New Alamein City which is now being built on the Mediterranean coast. The plant utilises the conventional process for sewage treatment and includes tertiary treatment. The effluent water shall be used for landscape irrigation.

What is the value of Metito’s businesses in Egypt and Africa?

Metito has a healthy record of over 3,000 successful projects in more than 46 countries around the world, and more than 3,000 experienced and skilled employees across locations. Metito Africa has a healthy backlog of projects worth in excess of $300m. 

Are you in negotiations with the Egyptian government to operate additional drainage plants in the future? 

Metito has recently signed a few projects with the public and private sectors, and there are a few more we expect to finalise soon. We will announce these projects in due course.

What safety measures have you implemented to protect your workers at sites?

As a global corporate citizen, Metito is monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic situation very closely, and has assigned a cross-organisational business continuity task force and an active response team with two core mandates. These are to safeguard the health and safety of our employees, consistent with conservative guidelines and based on the information constantly relayed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the distinct local governments across the countries where we operate.

We are also looking into managing any business implications and/or disruptive scenarios resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak to minimise the impact on our operations and our ability to serve our clients.

In Egypt, we have secured needed resources to maintain personal hygiene at all offices and project sites, including face masks and hand sanitisers. There are also daily temperature checks at all sites to ensure that any suspicions are assessed and handled as per set protocols and Quality, Health, Safety, and Environment Management measures. We are also conducting site sanitisation and disinfection at short intervals, and securing more shifts for transporting employees on company buses to ensure fewer passengers per ride and that social distancing guidelines are enforced.

Did you reduce employment due to the Covid-19 outbreak?

Metito remains to be unique, and we continue to grow from strength to strength. In fact, we are presently hiring new seniors to deliver on our record-breaking backlog. This sharp difference can only be attributed to our long-term strategic management vision and many years of successful retention of our devoted employees. 

Complementing this is our commitment to continue growing our local talents and protecting our people at such challenging times and as per the directives of President Al-Sisi pertaining to avoiding layoffs and the like.

How does the company ensure the efficiency of water and its suitability for irrigation?

In Al Mahsamma, we make use of the latest technologies for the treatment of agricultural drainage to produce suitable water for irrigation and land reclamation, following the highest quality standard and specs set by the Egyptian government.

In all Metito’s projects, we are committed to utilise state-of-the-art technology and systems across projects and in the various stages of water treatment. The IT systems we use aims to monitor the effectiveness of the site operations and to ensure the quality of water remains compliant with industry standard and client specifications. Moreover, all Metito project sites are equipped with laboratories for on-site water analysis and quality testing round the clock supervised by dedicated experts.

Do you think Egypt has opportunities through water desalination and treatment to overcome issues on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)?

Sea water desalination utilising reverse osmosis technology has been proven to be the most appropriate and economical solution for coastal areas. Furthermore, waste water reuse maximizes water utilisation.

Do you have any concerns over the argument that the coronavirus can spread and survive in drain water?

We are fully committed to the highest standards of health, safety and quality specifications across our projects and the full array of solutions that we offer.

As of today, there is no evidence that the coronavirus is transmitted through water sanitation systems and networks or through wastewater treatment plants. Nevertheless, Metito is keen on maintaining a healthy level of chlorine to eliminate any possible microbes in water purification and treatment processes and water distribution networks. This is done adequately and in accordance with the Egyptian standard specifications. It is scientifically proven that the presence of chlorine – in adequate and safe quantities – guarantees a high level of water purification more effectively and for longer durations.

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