San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

First sewage-treatment plant to be built in San José

Costa Rica is planning to open its first sewage-treatment plant in 2015. The plant, which will be called Los Tajos, is slated to be built in La Carpio, northwest of San José. Currently, most of the sewage from Central Valley residents ends up in rivers, eventually finding its way to the Río Tárcoles and into the Gulf of Nicoya. Beguiling Costa Rica’s green image, the Tárcoles is the most polluted river in Central America. “The rivers in San José are open-air sewers and during summer they only carry residual waters,” said Francisco Brenes Maltés, an official with Aqueducts and Sewers (AyA) in an interview with the Spanish-language daily La Nación.

When finished, the project will include revamped sewers through 11 cantons in the Central Valley, as well as some 400 kilometers of new sewers. The AyA thus far has expropriated 26 hectares for the construction of the Los Tajos plant, and is trying to buy 2,500 small lots where the new sewer lines will be built.

Construction is set to begin at the end of April. However, the Ombudsman’s office has to rule on an appeal filed by a company that did not win the bid to build the plant.

The project is part of the Project for Environmental Improvement for the San José Metro Area, and is financed in part by a $150 million donation from Japan. The remaining $120 million for the project will come from the Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo.

Look for the full story on the country’s first sewage treatment plant in Friday’s The Tico Times.

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