Gibraltar’s government has awarded a contract for a new wastewater treatment plant to a joint venture between Modern Water Services Ltd and Northumbrian Services Ltd.

Valued at approximately £22 million ($35 million), the contract includes the design and build of a wastewater treatment plant that can treat urban wastewater for the entire population of Gibraltar as well as storm flows. The joint venture partners will also operate the plant for a term of 20 years.

The contractors face certain restrictions in the design of the plant because Gibraltar has the second highest population density in Europe and limited land availability. Additionally, electricity is at a premium in Gibraltar. As a result, the plant design will have a small footprint and low power requirements.

The government of Gibraltar wants the plant to be completely enclosed and landscaped to visually enhance the local environment. Car parking will be available on the roof. Stringent odor controls will be incorporated to ensure that the facility complies with rigorous emission standards.

The plant will be designed to allow for future capacity upgrades to meet population and effluent flow increases, ensuring that Gibraltar complies with the European Union’s Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive.

Modern Water already operates forward osmosis testing facilities in Gibraltar and its CEO, Simon Humphrey, said that the company’s experience of treating saline wastewater was a key factor in securing this project.