Sanitation in Dubai

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Sanitation in Dubai involves planning and managing Dubai's waste and sewage management infrastructure. In the past, due to the rate of expansion of the city, there were problems with sewage capacity and connectivity but in recent years Dubai Municipality has greatly expanded capacity and at present the entirety of Dubai is connected to a central sewage system.[1] In 2007, Dubai had 1,200 km of sewerage pipeline network.[2] An additional 80 km was added in 2011 to connect Dubai Industrial City.[3]

Sanitation Infrastructure[edit]

Dubai Municipality maintains two main sanitation plants, one in Al Awir, and one in Jebel Ali. There are also several smaller sewage treatment plants around the emirate operated by private operators to serve specific districts or neighbourhoods.[4] [5] [6]

Al Awir Plant[edit]

The sewage plant in Al Awir is one of the main areas of waste water 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.[7]

Jebel Ali plant[edit]

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.[8] 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.[9]


2009 Sewage Issues[edit]

During Dubai's economic boom in 2009 the city's rapid 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 septic 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, some tanker drivers resorted to illegally dumping the effluent into storm drains or behind dunes in the desert resulting in much controversy. The result of sewage dumped into storm drains was that it flowed directly into the Persian Gulf, near to the city's prime swimming beaches. Doctors warned that tourists using the beaches ran the risk of contracting serious illnesses like typhoid and hepatitis.[13]

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".[14]

As of September 2009, these queues and illegal dumping are no longer reported to be a problem, according to official government releases. In 2013 it was reported that the Jebel Ali plant receive 70% of sewage through the city's sewage network, while the remaining 30% comes from sewage trucks.[15]


  1. ^ Rasheed, PMA. "Sewage network now covers all areas of Dubai". The Gulf Today. Retrieved 1 October 2012. 
  2. ^ Bushnaq, Khaled. "System Overflow". Construction Week. Retrieved 1 October 2012. 
  3. ^ Hare, Duncan. "Dubai Industrial City in infrastructure milestone". Construction Week. Retrieved 1 October 2012. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Dawson, Adam. "Sewage Solution". Construction Week. Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  6. ^ Dawson, Adam. "Sewage Solution". Construction Week. Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  7. ^ "Third Al-Aweer sewage plant planned". Retrieved 1 October 2012. 
  8. ^ "New Dubai areas get municipality sewage system". Gulf News. Retrieved 1 October 2012. 
  9. ^ "MWH Global Wins the United Arab Emirates Water Reuse Project of the Year". MWH Global. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  10. ^ Dawson, Adam. "Sewage Solution". Construction Week. Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Pitcher, Gemma (November 14, 2008). "Poo-bai: sewage threatens Dubai's beaches". Agence France-Presse. Retrieved December 8, 2008. 
  14. ^ Wheeler, Julia (October 13, 2008). "Raw sewage threat to booming Dubai". BBC. Retrieved December 8, 2008. 
  15. ^ Frewin, Jonathan. "Combating Dubai's raw sewage woes". BBC. Retrieved 12 January 2014.