WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT WITH SEWERAGE SYSTEM IN DIVČIBARE (2021)
Divčibare is a famous tourist center near Valjevo. Due to its ideal position at about 950 meters above sea level, this area was once declared an air spa and “climatic health resort”. Also, by the Decree of the Government of the Republic of Serbia dated August 27, 2021, the Maljen mountain is protected as an Area of Exceptional Characteristics. Unfortunately, due to decades of negligence on the part of the authorities, all the mentioned advantages of Divčibare have been called into question. More precisely, due to the construction of an increasing number of buildings (hotels and apartment houses) in a situation where the issue of sewerage and wastewater treatment has not been resolved, Divčibare is threatened by an ecological catastrophe. A large number of existing structures are not connected to the sewage network and discharge their wastewater from septic tanks directly into rivers and streams.
The existing sewage network in Divčibare was built almost 60 years ago. As it has never been renewed, many segments of this network are out of order today. During 2018 and 2019, a part of the new primary sewage network was built in the center of Divčibare, but the branch from the center to Kaona, where a large number of hotels and houses are located, was not built. Due to that fact, but also because the secondary sewage network has not been built, a large number of structures are still not connected to the sewerage system.
And when it comes to the wastewater treatment plant, it is interesting that the first such plant in Divčibare was built about 45 years ago. However, as it had equipment intended for coastal and not mountainous places, this plant worked for less than a year because it did not last the first winter! If it wasn’t funny, it would be sad. But that’s not all.
About 15 years ago, the Traffic Institute CIP prepared technical documentation for the construction of a sewerage and a new wastewater treatment plant in Divčibare, for which the then Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications set aside about 11.3 million dinars. The Ministry donated this documentation to the city of Valjevo with the aim of completing this project by 2010. However, the project was never realized. Instead, in July 2020, the city of Valjevo conducted a public procurement procedure for the preparation of the already existing project-technical documentation for the construction of a wastewater treatment plant in Divčibare! However, since the Faculty of Civil Engineering in Belgrade, after initiating the procedure, presented serious objections to the Feasibility Study and Supplement to this study (which were the basis for the preparation of tender documentation), the procedure was suspended. The faculty’s findings state, among other things, that the Study paid little attention to the quality of purified water, as well as that it did not analyze the adverse effects of mountain climate and low temperatures on the operation of the plant.
One year after this fiasco, in April 2021, the City Administration of the city of Valjevo re-announced public procurement for the preparation of technical documentation for the construction of a wastewater treatment plant with the sewer network in Divčibare, taking into account the remarks and suggestions of the Faculty of Civil Engineering in Belgrade. After the procedure, a job worth about 15 million dinars without VAT was won by a group of bidders headed by the Traffic Institute CIP. In other words, the same job was given to the same Institute that originally drafted this technical documentation 15 years ago!
The current mayor of Valjevo commented on this fact by saying that he “pulled” the old technical documentation out of the drawer when he became mayor and that a good part of it was used during the preparation of the new project. He also mentioned that it was necessary to “correct and innovate” the documentation because in the last 15 years there were various changes on the terrain where, according to the 2007 project, the collector and network were to be built. However, the mayor did not explain who was responsible for the fact that the documentation had been kept in the drawer for 15 years, which has led to the spending of additional public funds for its preparation and “innovation”.
Anyhow, the Traffic Institute CIP was paid for the second time for the preparation of the same or slightly improved technical documentation; at this moment, it remains unknown whether this updated version has been completed. According to the tender documentation, the deadline for the preparation of technical documentation for the construction of the sewer network was 90 days, and for the plant 70 days from the day of concluding the contract, and both deadlines have expired.
On the other hand, it is quite certain that the construction of the wastewater treatment plant has not yet started, nor is it known now, in March 2022, when it will start. During all that time, feces and wastewater from septic tanks continue to be discharged directly into streams and rivers.