Colombia's royalty council has approved the allocation of 15bn pesos (US$7.75mn) to optimize a wastewater treatment plant on the Frío river in Santander department's Girón municipality.
Work will be carried out by Santander department water utility Empas and includes implementing a sand trap and sludge treatment system, as well as improvements to a rainwater drainage system.
The national royalties fund will provide the bulk of the finances under its 2011-12 budget, and 50mn pesos will come from the municipal government, according to a release from the housing, cities and land ministry.
The project will benefit 650,000 people in the area through reducing the emission of unpleasant odors and gases, as well as protecting local water resources, said housing, cities and land minister Beatriz Uribe.
In a later stage, as the plant's capacity increases, Bucaramanga's southern region and the Floridablanca municipality will also benefit from the initiative.