P3 of Tietê river cleanup project expected shortly

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The third phase of Brazil's Tietê river cleanup project is under discussion and will become a reality, Antonio Cesar Costa e Silva, technology and planning director at São Paulo state water company Sabesp (NYSE: SBS), told BNamericas.

"Talks are under way and we expect to announce the future implementation of the third phase of the project soon," said Costa e Silva.

The river cleanup project started in 1992 and has already seen investments of more than 3bn reais (US$1.53bn) by the Inter-American Development Bank, federal savings bank CEF and Sabesp.

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The second phase of the project is expected to be completed next year. However, at least 40% of the sewage discharged into the river will still be untreated, with the population on the rise in the river basin.

According to Costa e Silva, the cost of cleaning the Tietê river, which runs through the state, will be at least another 3bn reais.

"Traditional financing sources are being considered but it is still too early to say how the third phase will be financed," said the director.

The river's pollution levels rose last year due to the disposal of detergents and both untreated wastewater and solid wastes, according to research published recently by the state environment authority Cetesb.

"Around 15 years are needed to treat this wastewater. The amount of sewage treated in greater São Paulo is expected to rise from the current 62% to 70% in 2008, when the second phase of the Tietê project is completed," said Costa e Silva.