The Hague – With the signing of an agreement between commissioner Elvis Tjin Asjoe and Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen of Infrastructure and Water Management, the impasse around the sewage treatment plant on Bonaire is finally coming to an end.
The ministry of I & W, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and the Public Entity will each contribute financially to the final phase of the project. The parties will each reserve a maximum of 1 million euros for this.
Contractor MNO Vervat and the SONA-foundation (which oversaw investments of money into the project, editor) have been conducting arbitration proceedings for years about the costs of the last part of the project, the end of which is not yet in sight.
The consequences of the conflict are big: the Water and Electricity Company Bonaire (WEB) pays for the operating loss of the Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP). The plant is in dire need of necessary investments and purified waste water can so far not be supplied to, for example, the hotels for irrigation and landscaping purposes. This forces the hotels to use expensive drinking water.
The agreement also stipulates that I & W will continue to provide a subsidy of 1 million euros annually up to and including 2025 as a contribution to the operating costs of the WWTP. It has been agreed that there will be a structural solution for the sustainable exploitation of the STP by the end of 2025 at the latest.
Agreements have also been made about the introduction of a waste water levy. A regulation must be adopted for this purpose before the end of the year, but the levy will be nil for the first two years. The introduction of a waste water tax was at the time a condition for obtaining a subsidy from the European Union for the construction of the WWTP.
“The residents of Bonaire are entitled to clean water. With the financial contribution we ensure that the waste water on Bonaire is not only purified, but can also be used in gardens and agricultural areas. As a result, the more expensive drinking water no longer needs to be used for irrigation. At first all the wastewater just went into the ocean, with an adverse effect on the coral. Now we will be killing two birds with one stone: no more untreated wastewater in the ocean and cheaper irrigation water on the island itself”, said Minister van Nieuwenhuizen at the signing of the agreement.