The most expensive [VACUUM] sewer in the world - on island Bonaire, NL
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The most expensive [VACUUM] sewer in the world - on island Bonaire, NL 08 Jan 2014 16:14 #6921

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a decade of work by big boys on "sustainable sanitation" at location: goo.gl/maps/oan0a

source "Bonaire Reporter": page 15-16 bonairereporter.com/news/013pdfs/9-16-13.pdf

Something smells bad in Bonaire.
More than 20 years after the need for a sewer system to protect Bonaire’s reef was confirmed, it is about to begin full operation. Its cost has been astronomical [from €20 up to] - €34.5 million - which means each [vacuum-] connection to the 607 households, 73 hotels and businesses costs more than €50,000 each [for 3,000 to 4,000 people (p.e.)]. And that cost is after the project was downsized because the contractor’s price was significantly more than the available funds. The coastal strip where the buildings would be connected, was reduced from 500 meters to 200 meters from the sea, the size of the [vacuum] sewer pipes were specified a smaller diameter and a system malfunction remedy was deleted.

The Institute for Water Education in Delft [UNESCO-IHE] concluded that the cost-per-connection is among the highest in the world. There is no doubt that a system to remove wastewater from the coastline is mandatory. Bonaire is surrounded by a coral reef which attracts tourists from around the planet. The reef is harmed when the nutrients from sewage promote the growth of algae which smother the sensitive coral polyps. The newly-installed sewage treatment system will pipe the wastewater from facilities within 200m of the most populated coastal zones to treatment facilities near the center of the island. The treated water will be sold at low prices for agricultural use [flowering hotels].

Concerns about the project were raised as early as [2003] 2004. Motivated by a recent freezing of future funds by the European Commission, a fraud investigation by OLAF, the European Anti-Fraud Office, is escalating.

Development funds from the European Commission and The Netherlands have been used to pay for the work. The payments were overseen by the Development Foundation of the Netherlands Antilles (SONA). The allegations of fraud were raised by Kay HETZER, a fired team leader of the company that oversaw the sewer project who testified that, "I had to leave in 2011 because I did not cooperate in the fraud. I always had to pay more than the contractor was permitted under the construction agreement. That amounted to €250,000.” The affair also taints Wilbert STOLTE, who has been the Kingdom Representative (Rijksvertegenwoordiger) for the BES Islands. He was formerly treasurer of SONA, who awarded the contract. Last week it was announced that STOLTE will step down next year.

Joep Dohmen, [http://www.nrc.nl/]


more background in PDF:
UNESCO-IHE study on "sustainable sanitation" on Bonaire, made 2004-5 by Prof. Huub J. Gijzen and Peter van der Steen, PhD, forumantilles.com/pdfs/Sewage-management...onaire17novfinal.pdf

UNESCO-IHE concluded mainly in 2004-5:
- The made DC plan does not ensure that there is no nitrogen flux into the sea. The project is likely to increase this flux. [probably now solved]
- The sustainability of the facilities is questionable
- The alternative solutions are worth to be further developed as they have major advantages

Maybe others in developing countries should change their live style to preserve “our” pyromaniac live style?

All the Best
Detlef
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Last Edit: 09 Jan 2014 17:13 by AquaVerde.

Re: The most expensive [VACUUM] sewer in the world - on island Bonaire, NL 08 Jan 2014 17:02 #6922

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Hmm, some more details would be nice. But it seems like unchecked fraud and not the technology itself was at fault here?

Edit: After reviewing some more details, I guess it was also bad planning and a questionable technology choice in this case.
Krischan Makowka
Technical Adviser at the Uganda Water and Sanitation NGO Network (UWASNET)
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Last Edit: 08 Jan 2014 17:31 by JKMakowka.

Re: The most expensive [VACUUM] sewer in the world - on island Bonaire, NL 08 Jan 2014 17:31 #6926

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You are right the "vacuum" is only one issue of many sustainability issues their.

Bonaire is a "small world" and mirrors the "real world" with its pyromaniac live stile, using fossil energy (heavy oil) to desalinate sea water just for having the luxury to flushing toilets, using fossil energy for vacuum sewage collection system and AS-wwtp to irrigate finally imported tropical flower at beach hotels on an hot & arid island and so on...

Let me keeping just very technical on general sewer planing:
A very important parameter for sewage network planning is the total Network lengths per Population Equivalent m/PE. This parameter gives just and only an indication on the economical sustainability/feasibility (Capital, O&M and Depreciation per real PE) about any proposed sewer network.

I learned for any sewer systems, as one of the general requirements, only less than 12m per real served Population Equivalent (PE) is allowable, to ensure an economical optimized sewer system. <12m/PE!

on Bonaire:
One part of the system has an unacceptable theoretical parameter of 27.4m/PE.

The parameter for only 4,109 PE practically served by the sewer system and total length of 55.25 km network:
13.45 m/PE > 12m/PE This parameter is not within acceptable economical limits!
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Last Edit: 08 Jan 2014 21:53 by AquaVerde.

Re: The most expensive [VACUUM] sewer in the world - on island Bonaire, NL 09 Mar 2014 22:24 #7704

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Netherlands Antilles march 2014

Having seen the article of the Bonaire reporter from sept 2013 which had its source from NRC paper of sept 2013, and the reaction of especially user ID-1550 the following:

The real figures are:
Around 14,400 P.E will be connected and around 28 km of sewer vacuum line is laid.
The quick calculation using the method of Mr. ID-no: 1550 and replied upon by Mr. IKMakowka, in their reaction of Jan 8th 2014 of the proposed "total Network lengths per Population Equivalent [m/PE]" learns that the reality (as-built)is: 28000/14400= 1.94

If the theoretical calculation of <12m/PE! by Mr. ID-1550 is the common practice (rule of thumb)than his conclusion on economical sustainability/feasibility of the Bonaire vacuum sewerage project is based on completely wrong information (I presume it is copied /quoted from the NRC article by Mr. Joep Dohmen, journalist of the NCR paper in the Netherlands. The reality is that the total contractual costs (works/supervision/ sdministration/audits/ evaluation plus the connections on private ground of around 1000 parcels and 73 hotels to the sewer lines etc) are around 27 MEuro. This then means that the so called astronomical costs (EUR 50,000 per p.e, as quoted by the reporter Joep Dohmen (NRC sept 2013), are not reflecting the reality and these costs are in reality in the order of EUR 192,-/population equivalent.

Concluding:
The reactions of Mr- ID-1550 and Mr.JKMakowka have their validity to have been published; however they should have based themselves on the reality; which sometimes is not easy to get,

Daniel

Re: The most expensive [VACUUM] sewer in the world - on island Bonaire, NL 09 Mar 2014 22:33 #7705

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Erratum: Sorry:
My calculation of EUR 192/ population equivalent in my reaction should of course be: EUR 1875/p.e This is still not astronomical and far away from the EUR 50,000 that Mr. Joep Dohmen quoted in the NRC of sept 2013

Daniel

Re: The most expensive [VACUUM] sewer in the world - on island Bonaire, NL 09 Mar 2014 23:10 #7706

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Hi Daniel,
as well with your numbers something seems not to add up.
Just to be sure:
total costs 27.000.000 €
14.400 pe.
28000 m of sewer (1,94 m/pe.).

The number of 1.875 €/pe is astronomical to me.
If you check: an extremly expensive treatment plant for 14.400 pe should not be above 900 €/pe (that is 3 times more than a treatment plant in Europe (with cold climate) and 10 times more than in Brazil (a climate closer to Bonnaire). So the min price for the sewer would be 975 €/pe or 450 €/m. I think that is not possible under any circumstances?
Where is my error?

Christoph
Last Edit: 09 Mar 2014 23:11 by christoph.

Re: The most expensive [VACUUM] sewer in the world - on island Bonaire, NL 10 Mar 2014 01:11 #7707

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Dera Christoph,

Thanks for your rapid answer,

Good to be in touch with experienced snaitation engineer. Although I'am certainly not an sanitation engineer, I just came across this post (through the Boniare reporter, a local newspaper that quotes impritant (for Bonaire) items. As I know not exactly the figures I know that the figures of 27M Euro and 14400 p.e.are right.

The bonaire subsoil is extremely in the coastal zone (coral lime stone and the very hard limestone, somtimes called beach rock. The WWTP is around 4 km from the coastal and sewered zone. Everything you will have to do on equipment, pipes and materials has to be (temporarily) imported. The Bonaire climate is salty (so stainless steel necessary), dry and very hot.

Maybe this has soemthing to do with the prices.

From where is the figure 975/pe ? or 450/m ?
Can you give some more info ??

Regards,
Daniel

Re: The most expensive [VACUUM] sewer in the world - on island Bonaire, NL 10 Mar 2014 07:21 #7710

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Dear Daniel,

FYI, as a total fresher to the EUCOM-"system" and as the EUCOM-official "...for infrastructure projects for NEA & Aruba", during 2002-3 I was official "responsible" for a wrong "White Elephant" feasibility and master planing by the German consultant DORSCH on Bonaire. With all the personal consequences, after sticking too hard to my basic watsan university education by rejecting wrong "German" plans. Unfortunately the old fashion "White Elephant" AS-planing (AS = activated sludge = sequential batch reactor) was not driven by the "locals" and not for their own benefit. Too many EU-VIP's not water engineers are involved in the deal.

In the meantime the island is now 99% part of NL/EU. Maybe the partly already existing old fashion sanitation-system (for 28 MEUR+++) are now in proper Dutch hands?

What is the/your purpose bring up again & again this masterpiece of German engineering and long term planing?
A question I am asking my self too!

What is your personal interest in it? More them 30,000,000 EUR (taxpayers money) been already "distributed", which you can not recover again. Since 2002/3 + 2004/5 + 2008 this master piece of German long term planing is known in detail by water-engineers and VIP's on Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles, EU, NL (WASTE), Sweden (SEI) and Germany (GTZ-ecosan) and so on, even by people who are posting often within this sustainable sanitation internet forum...

Maybe it is better to say by all case closed!?

Regards,
Detlef SCHWAGER

PS: If you are interested, I can send you some planing EURO-numbers back from 2002/3, with total 20,000,000 EUR for approx. 5,900 people.



“A small pocket-calculator exercise for ALL (base: 20,000,000 EUR)”

For that small pocket-calculator exercise you do not need to be an international well-respected scientist or small expert on sanitation. A primary school pupil might do this by her/him self without teachers attention, if realistic (generally well-known) figures are given and not blurred.

To start with, the chosen limited centralised solution is extremely unusual expensive. Where purifying wastewater, on average of the population, demands according to other international organisation, an investment of 300 up to 500 USD by head. On Bonaire that is circa 3,400 Euro for! It seams Bonaire will be the leading example by “managing off” the European and Dutch taxpayers kind contributions?

To be very conservative, for your own pocket calculator exercise you may consider high German or West-European costs conditions on tax’s, supply, material costs and salaries. For a very-very rough budget calculation including planning and implementation (from scratch) you may even include the whole island will have a centralised wastewater collection and treatment system for circa 20,000 people. You may start with grand total costs of circa 100 – 400 €/PE (per “head”). To be only a bit more specific and to find out to where the money in general terms would go most, you could break it a bit more down in: 150 – 200€/PE (per “head”) for a Centralised-Treatment-Plant and in: minimum 150 €/m for a needed Collection/Pipe network-System.

If you use for that conservative and rough calculation even up to 500 €/PE, and even up to 20,000 Bonaire’es and visitors, Bonaire will need only grand total of EURO10,000,000 (inclusive TAX) for a centralised island system, build from scratch.

By breaking down in 200€/PE for a centralised treatment plant for 20,000 Bonaire’es, circa = €4,000,000, and in minimum 150€/m for centralised Collection/Pipe System, you find out that the total length of that (and any) centralised collection system is the most decisive figure and will on Bonaire consequently eat “necessarily” the most of any capital investment costs, leaving alone the very important long-term economics for long-term deprivation, maintenance and operation costs for the later existing large pipe network system.

The question is, to where the “surplus” of maybe EURO10,000,000 is going, the difference between really needed money, maybe EURO10,000,000 for a centralised system and already planned and used money, total circa EURO20,000,000?

But the currently planned sanitation project supposed to serve ONLY a small beach strip at Kralendijk main town (village), theoretically ONLY 5,887 PE (PE, people equivalent = more or less like persons) inclusive visitors to Bonaire.

So, circa 6,000 people x 500 €/PE = EURO3,000,000. Lets generously twice as much up to EURO6,000,000 for "special needs, like some people have often".

If you now break it a bit down, more conservative in 6,000 people x 200 €/PE (for centralised treatment plant) = EURO1,200,000 and in 55.250 m x 150€/m (for centralised network System) = circa EURO 8,200,000 you end up with Grand Total of EURO9,400,000 only.

The planned actual budget of approx. EURO20,000,000 for circa 6,000 people only! Finally, the big question again is, to where the difference of approx. EURO10,600,000 surpluses are going?

Non experts like Bonaire NGO Alliances, my self and UNESCO-IHE experts indicated already back in 2002 and 2004/5 that if common sense applied on Bonaire, well known state-of-the-art alternatives at hand, works not only better to reduce, e.g. the critical nitrates levels, but also much cheaper for the specific not-congested Bonaire conditions: Instead of one very limited central collection and treatment installation for only circa 6,000 people. The kind sum of circa 20 millions Euro of EuCom and NL-Gov. is MORE THEM ENOUGH to deal with 100% of Bonaire’s wastewater’s in a modern way, mainly locally by means of existing decentralised but thoroughly improved septic tank systems, plus adding grouped or singled very simple decentralised final treatment plants, e.g. like Constructed Wetlands treatments and effluent reuse for irrigation, all operated & managed in a centralised way by one entity only. The recommendation of UNESCO-IHE to seriously examine more such sustainable alternatives has been put to the wind by all authorities concerned - in Brussels (EU), The Hague (NL), NEA-Gov. and Kralendijk (Bonaire).
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Last Edit: 10 Mar 2014 08:23 by AquaVerde.

Re: The most expensive [VACUUM] sewer in the world - on island Bonaire, NL 10 Mar 2014 19:37 #7729

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Daniel
1975 €/pe - 900 €/pe (my max estimation for the treatment plant (knowing now it is SBR I am sure this is more than sufficient))= 975 €/pe (for the sewer)
Figure of 1,94 m/pe
Therefore: Cost for the sewer 975/1,94 = 450 €/m

Did I clarify?
Christoph

Re: The most expensive [VACUUM] sewer in the world - on island Bonaire, NL 10 Mar 2014 20:14 #7730

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Hallo Christoph,

For number clarifications:

- In 2004/5 island total approx. 15,000 calculated p.e. this includes temp. visitors too. No planing existed ever to service all people (p.e. numbers)! By 2003 only 4,109 p.e. (along 500 m village beach line) for 20,000,000 EUR been planed. (I contacted your college on this strange numbers/approach by 2003 in Brazil.)

- By 2008 only approx. 5,000 p.e. will be served only in main village along 500 m beach line using total length of approx. 55 km network. total budget 24,000,000 EUR

- By 2013 only 3,000 to 4,000 p.e., because reduction from 500 to only 200 m beach line. Money committed 34,500,000 EUR, but still 8,000,000 EUR missing to make the houses connection (680 numbers of connections in village) to the sewer network. Therefore, the vacuum sewer system is dry up to today.

- Dutch Reporter Mr. Joep Dohmen, [http://www.nrc.nl/] calculated independent:

34,500,000 EUR / 680 numbers of house-connections = approx. 50,000 EUR per "house-connection" regardless hotel or small house.


I hope you got a more transparent view on numbers.

Regards,
Detlef

More you will find in UNESCO-IHE study on "sustainable sanitation" on Bonaire, made 2004-5 by Prof. Huub J. Gijzen and Peter van der Steen, PhD, forumantilles.com/pdfs/Sewage-management...onaire17novfinal.pdf
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Last Edit: 10 Mar 2014 20:17 by AquaVerde.

Re: The most expensive [VACUUM] sewer in the world - on island Bonaire, NL 11 Mar 2014 05:02 #7735

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Dear Christophe and Detlef

Especially the reaction of Detlef was interesting especially as he was apparently very involved once. My interest was only drawn to the subject because of what the NRC/ Mr. Joep Dohmen wrote. Furthermore I wanted more info on how sanitation on small islands can economically be made feasible; not especially the island ofBonaire. This means for me not so much the techniques but more the economical part.

I think both you have indicated enough that Mr. Dohmen touched a point in his article. Furthermore thanks for the rules of thumbs by both of you.
Like Detlef says. Lets stop the discussion and learn for the future,
Regards,
Daniel

Re: The most expensive [VACUUM] sewer in the world - on island Bonaire, NL 11 Mar 2014 21:47 #7747

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Dear Daniel,
...and learn for the future

Yes, it would be an expensive learning exercise, if know-how and information did not exist beforehand for the big boys on "sustainable sanitation", local gov. and EU-VIP's.

But in this not very unusual case, know-how and information existed more them enough and many years well ahead.

Just say only "case closed" for this case of too many!

Maybe one result is now very clear at least to me:
For proper sanitation money is more them enough available and know-how too, but not enough willingness & stand to do so, by people in charge and confidants!

"Money makes greed, and greed devours the brain"


Regards,
Detlef
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Last Edit: 18 Mar 2014 18:35 by AquaVerde.
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