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Palm trees irrigated with treated wastewater in a wetland of Dubai Municipality

Sanitation in Dubai involves planning and managing Dubai's waste and sewage management infrastructure, within the United Arab Emirates. Before 2007, there were many problems with sewage capacity and connectivity[ citation needed] but in recent years Dubai Municipality has expanded capacity. Since then, Dubai had 1,200 km of sewerage pipeline network. [1] An additional 80 km was added in 2011 to connect Dubai Industrial City. [2]

Sanitation infrastructure

Dubai Municipality maintains two main sanitation plants, one in Al Awir, and one in Jebel Ali. Several smaller sewage treatment plants around the emirate are also operated by private operators to serve specific districts or neighbourhoods. [3] [4]

Al Awir Plant

The sewage plant in Al Awir is one of the main areas of wastewater treatment in Dubai. It has been significantly expanded in recent years. The first phase of the plant has a designed capacity of 260,000 m³ per day but by December 2007, it was dealing with almost 500,000 m³ per day. The second phase of the plant added 65,000 m³ of capacity and was commissioned in January 2008. The third phase of the plant was under study in 2007 and adds an extra 80,000 m³ capacity. [5]

Jebel Ali plant

The first two phases of the Jebel Ali plant were completed in April 2009 and it has begun operations, easing pressure on the Al Awir plant. The second phase was completed in October 2010. The odour treatment plant was also completed. The project cost over 1,500,000,000 AED, and covers an area of 670 hectares. It has the capacity to process 300,000 m³ of waste water per day. A sewage water pumping station and pumping lines are being created as a second project at a cost 580,000,000 AED. A sewage pumping station and the pumping lines linking up to the main treatment plant at Jebel Ali are being built at a cost of 191,000,000 AED. [6] In 2011, the Jebel Ali Sewage Treatment Plant was selected as the Water Reuse Project of the Year as part of the annual MEED Quality Awards. [7]


Sewage issues

During Dubai's economic boom in the 2000s, the city's growth meant that it was stretching its existing sewage treatment infrastructure to its limits. Sewage from areas of Dubai not connected to the municipal piped network at the time was collected daily from thousands of holding tanks across the city and driven by tankers to the city's only sewage treatment plant at Al-Awir. Because of the long queues and delays, several tanker drivers resorted to illegally dumping the raw sewage into storm drains or behind dunes in the desert, resulting in much controversy. Sewage dumped into storm drains flowed directly into the Persian Gulf, near the city's prime swimming beaches. Doctors warned that tourists using the beaches ran the risk of contracting serious illnesses like typhoid and hepatitis. [11]

Dubai's municipality says that it is committed to trying to catch the culprits and has imposed fines of up to $25,000 as well as threatening to confiscate tankers if dumping persists. The municipality maintains that test results show samples of the water are "within the standard". [12]

In 2013 it was reported that the Jebel Ali plant receives 70% of sewage through the city's sewage network, while the remaining 30% comes from sewage trucks. [13]

A new, multi-billion-Dhs sewerage system is expected to be completed by 2025. [14] [15]

See also


  1. ^ Bushnaq, Khaled. "System Overflow". Construction Week. Retrieved 1 October 2012.
  2. ^ Hare, Duncan. "Dubai Industrial City in infrastructure milestone". Construction Week. Retrieved 1 October 2012.
  3. ^ "Laying waste to inefficiency". Archived from the original on 2012-06-10.
  4. ^ Dawson, Adam. "Sewage Solution". Construction Week. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  5. ^ "Third Al-Aweer sewage plant planned". Archived from the original on 8 March 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2012.
  6. ^ "New Dubai areas get municipality sewage system". Gulf News. Retrieved 1 October 2012.
  7. ^ "MWH Global Wins the United Arab Emirates Water Reuse Project of the Year". MWH Global. Retrieved 10 February 2011.
  8. ^ Dawson, Adam. "Sewage Solution". Construction Week. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  9. ^ "Metito announces AED14m water-conservation deal |". Archived from the original on 2011-01-04.
  10. ^ "Laying waste to inefficiency |". Archived from the original on 2012-06-10.
  11. ^ Pitcher, Gemma (November 14, 2008). "Poo-bai: sewage threatens Dubai's beaches". Agence France-Presse. Retrieved December 8, 2008.
  12. ^ Wheeler, Julia (October 13, 2008). "Raw sewage threat to booming Dubai". BBC News. UK: BBC. Retrieved December 8, 2008.
  13. ^ Frewin, Jonathan. "Combating Dubai's raw sewage woes". BBC News. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  14. ^ Barakat, Noorhan (15 May 2016). "Dubai to get a new sewage system in coming five years". Gulf News. Dubai, UAE. Retrieved 25 August 2021.
  15. ^ Downes, Siobhan (13 July 2017). "Dubai is getting a game-changing Dhs30 billion sewerage system". What's On, Motivate Media Group. Dubai, UAE. Retrieved 25 August 2021.