Representatives of the Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, local authorities, partners from Hungary, and Germany’s KfW Development Bank signed several contracts last week for investments in sewage infrastructure and wastewater treatment systems. The latest deals that the Government of Serbia achieved and the previously signed loans with China amount to EUR 4 billion. The wastewater treatment and utility infrastructure should cover 80% of the population.
In Serbia, just over half of households are currently connected to the sewage network. Only a small percentage of the infrastructure has wastewater treatment to some degree. The largest cities – Niš, Belgrade, and Novi Sad – are still discharging wastewater directly into rivers.
Wastewater treatment is directly related to the availability of clean, drinking water, the health of Serbian citizens, as well as environmental protection.
Momirović: Record investments in utility infrastructure
According to the Minister of Construction, Transport, and Infrastructure Tomislav Momirović, the construction of about 800 kilometers of sewage and collector infrastructure began last year in more than 20 municipalities and cities.
The government’s goal is to cover 80% of the population with sewage infrastructure in the next five years as well as to build add wastewater treatment plants to the utility infrastructure.
Momirović said EUR 238.4 million was allocated in the budget for 2022 only for environmental protection projects, the construction of utility infrastructure in particular. According to him, it was a record in investments that will contribute to achieving environmental standards like in Western European countries.
The minister added that Serbia today has the economic capacity to solve the issue that has been swept under the rug for decades.
Momirović: Serbia today has the economic capacity to solve the problem that has been “swept under the rug” for decades
The plan is to invest more than EUR 4 billion in Serbia in the next five years and build 7,000 kilometers of sewage network and more than 250 wastewater treatment plants, Momirović said.
New projects in cooperation with Hungary
Based on the agreement on economic and technical cooperation between Hungary and Serbia, a project of cleaning and reconstruction Bubanj lake in Kragujevac and Međuvršje lake near Čačak was announced by the line ministry. The work should start in the next 6 to 8 months.
As part of cooperation with Hungary, Minister Momirović also announced the construction of 10 new wastewater treatment plants and 351 kilometers of sewage network, at 12 locations in Serbia.
The construction of 10 new wastewater treatment plants, as part of cooperation with Hungary
The project is worth EUR 4.3 million in grants that will be used to produce project documentation, followed by about EUR 80 million in Hungarian loans, the minister said.
Hungarian firm Naturaaqua will work on the projects of Bubanj and Međuvršje lakes.
Partnerships with KfW
The Ministry of Construction, Transport, and Infrastructure, in cooperation with Germany’s KfW Development Bank, is implementing projects for the construction of utility infrastructure in the field of water supply and wastewater treatment in several cities in Serbia.
The central wastewater treatment plant in Jagodina will have a capacity to cover 72,000 inhabitants, and the investment is valued at EUR 18 million. The project includes the reconstruction and expansion of the existing collector and sewage system worth EUR 6 million, according to the ministry.
Nearly EUR 20 million will be invested in Pirot in water and sewerage infrastructure in cooperation with KfW.
In addition to the EUR 3.3 million invested so far in the construction of the wastewater treatment plant and the reconstruction of the water supply network, EUR 16.2 million has been allocated for a central wastewater treatment plant and the reconstruction and expansion of the sewage network.
The facility in Pirot will have a capacity equivalent to 52,000 inhabitants and provide wastewater treatment for 85% of the municipality’s population.
Also, the construction of a drinking water treatment plant in Kikinda began in March. Total value of the investment is EUR 10.2 million, of which EUR 6 million is a subsidized loan from KfW.
The remainder was provided by the Government of Serbia from budgetary funds, the ministry said. The completion of the plant is expected by the end of 2023.
Vranje and Kruševac
The cities of Vranje and Kruševac got their wastewater treatment plants.
The construction of a central wastewater treatment plant in Vranje with a capacity equivalent to 65,000 inhabitants cost EUR 11.8 million. It was completed in December.
The construction of the plant in Kruševac with a capacity that can meet the needs of 90, 000 inhabitants was completed in 2020, and it cost EUR 14.3 million. About 75% of the city’s population is covered by the sewer and collector network.
Clean Serbia project is worth over EUR 3 billion
The implementation of the Čista Srbija (Clean Serbia) utility infrastructure project started last August. The Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure said it signed annexes to the contract with the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) and representatives of 14 local authorities.
The contracts envisage the design and construction of wastewater treatment plants, sewage networks, and pumping stations at 73 locations in 65 municipal units, together with the rehabilitation or construction of regional landfills at six locations.
Commercial contracts stipulate that the deadline for the completion of each project may not exceed 39 months including a probationary period. The contracts are worth EUR 3.2 billion in total.
The selected locations for the first phase of the utility infrastructure project are in Varvarin, Knić, Banja Vrujci, Krupanj, Mionica, Vranje, Novi Bečej, Kragujevac and Novi Sad. Design development or construction works have already began in several municipalities:
- Svrljig – 6.4 kilometers of sewage network; wastewater treatment plant. The value of the project is EUR 4.5 million.
- Kladovo – 40.6 kilometers of sewage network; two wastewater treatment plants. The endeavor is worth EUR 41 million.
- Lajkovac – 30 kilometers of sewage network; two wastewater treatment plants (Lajkovac and Bogovađa). The project is valued at EUR 15.5 million.
- Lazarevac – 25 kilometers of sewage network; wastewater treatment plant. In Veliki Crljeni in the same municipality – 52.5 kilometers of the sewage network; wastewater treatment plant. The combined value of the two projects is EUR 48 million.
- Obrenovac – 98 kilometers of sewage network; two wastewater treatment plants (Obrenovac and Ratari). The project is worth EUR 54 million.
“The contract also stipulates the mandatory engagement of Serbian subcontractors by our Chinese partners, the CRBC company, in a percentage of not less than 49% of the total number of subcontractors hired,” Momirović said.