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Title: Environmental & social impact assessment for the proposed construction of sewerage system in Kelaa, Haa Alif Atoll, Maldives
Authors: Water Solutions
Keywords: Sewage system
Existing environment
Economic socio-economic environment
Environmental impacts
Mitigation measures
Legislative and regulatory considerations
Environmental and social impact monitoring
Issue Date: May-2011
Citation: Water Solutions. (2011). Environmental & social impact assessment for the proposed construction of sewerage system in Kelaa, Haa Alif Atoll, Maldives. Male': Maldives
Abstract:  This EIA report is prepared for the construction of a sewerage system in the island of Kelaa Haa Alifu Atoll. The project will be implemented by Upper North Utilities with the funding from Government of Maldives.  The proposed project aims to establish a sewerage system where household wastewater gets collected in to a sewer network and gets discharged into the open ocean via an outfall. Surveys and assessments were done in Keaa to identify the best possible option and suitable system including evaluating alternatives to the project.  The proposed system will ensure that the groundwater of the island does not get contaminated through improper sanitation systems. It will also ensure that the surrounding marine environment will improve in terms of environmental quality and will ensure pollution from sewage does not occur. These measures are expected to bring several positive impacts on the health of the people other than improving the environmental quality.  Various alternative to the proposed system were also studied. One of the options identified include treatment of sewage and the use of vacuum systems. Based on the assessment, these alternatives were assessed to identify their potential application in Kelaa against the proposed system  The island’s sanitation system is developed on traditional septic tank system. All the houses have toilet facilities which have on site septic tanks system on the island. The ground water of the island is been used for toilet flushing and other purposes other than drinking. The main portable water is from the private water tanks on individual houses.  The assessment reveals that the project can be implemented without significant impact on the natural environment of the island.  The impact area due to the implementation of the project would be the loss of vegetation due to the construction of the pump station, lying of the sewer network and the reef environment due to the construction of the outfall.  These impacts would be unavoidable as trees have to be cleared from the site before construction can begin for the pump station. The outfall need to be properly anchored to hard substrate of the reef.  Therefore, the most significant direct impacts are going to be resulting from the loss of flora and fauna from the area where the pump station would be constructed.  The proposed area for the construction of the pump house and the road which would connect the sewer network to the pump house has not yet been cleared. The Kelaa Island Council is working to give compensation to the trees that need to be removed from the roads and the site allocated for the pump house. It is estimated that 932 mature trees would be removed from roads and the site allocated for the pump house.  To compensate the tree losses, the proponent has already made plans to re‐plant more trees on the green zones and Environmental Protection Zones(s) (EPZ) of the island. It is also planned that trees will be retained in the area which would be provided to the Upper North Utility company where possible, and/or planted within the boundary once construction works are completed. Therefore, a long term tree plantation programme will be developed and implemented in association with concerned agencies.  The proponent of the project shall develop necessary plans and implement the mitigation measures in association with relevant agencies to compensate for the loss of mature trees. It is suggested to implement a re‐plantation programme in consultation with the island and under the guidance of island council. Therefore, financial provisions shall be made available from the national budget to plant additional trees in the island.  Several alternatives for the proposed project have been identified and they are discussed in detail.  All activities of the project will be closely monitored by site supervisors of Upper North Ultities and Kelaa Island Council  In light of this assessment, the proposed project has been found to have more positive than negative impacts, both environmentally and socially. It is crucial for the client to manage the project in consultation and assistance with other stakeholders if the environmental impacts are to be minimized.
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