Operation of the Zahle Wastewater Treatment Facility


As a result of the recent economic crisis, and due to the lack of financial resources to cover the operation and maintenance costs of the Zahle Wastewater facility, the Italian government through the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) decided to fund the operation of the facility for two years as of 01 September 2022, through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). At the end of this project, the WWTP shall be handed back to Lebanese Authorities, namely the Bekaa Water Establishment (BWE), the entity that legally owns the facility and is responsible for its management based on national legislation.


In year 2000, the Italian Government granted Lebanon a soft loan (Loan no. AID/05/008/00) for the construction and commissioning of a Wastewater Treatment Plant in Zahle (WWTP). The fund and implementation were managed by the Council of Development and Reconstruction (CDR), on behalf of the Lebanese Government. The implementation of the project was delayed for several reasons including administrative issues. The construction of the facility was completed in October 2017, and put into operation until 31 August 2022 through a contract issued by the CDR.  

However, the ongoing economic crisis has affected the financial and human resources of BWE, the legal water authority that should be managing and operating the facility, thus putting the facility at risk of being putting out of service and having the wastewater being disposed in illegal manner in nature/environment. Therefore, the Italian Government through AICS, allocated additional funds through UNDP to ensure the continuation of the operation of the facility for 2 additional years, therefore granting the relevant authorities time to enhance their capacities and become ready to take over the operation of Zahle WWTP.

Major Achievements

The project is ensuring the efficient operation of the Zahle WWTP: 

  • Treatment of 1,646,090m3 of Wastewater between Sep and Dec 2022.
  • Management of 5,360m3 of Sludge.
  • 3 BWE personnel provided with the required capacity building and training to operate and maintain the facility after its handover to the BWE.  
Project outcome

The primary objective of this project is to assist the BWE to be able to conduct the operation and maintenance of the Zahle WWTP in a sustainable manner with regards to both financial and environmental aspects. As for the specific objective, the project aims to guarantee the treatment of wastewater in the Zahle WWTP in compliance with international standards.

GESI Component (Gender Equality and Social Inclusion):

The project promotes the participation of women equally as men in the all activities such as training, capacity building and awareness raising programs. Assessments and data collected will be gender disaggregated to the extent possible.