top of page

Progress on the Construction Phase of the Treatment Plant in Puerto Viejo

During an accountability visit, authorities from the Costa Rican Institute of Aqueducts and Sewerage (AyA) officially accepted the recently completed wastewater treatment plant in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

This facility is the "heart" of the new sanitary sewer system and crucial for the upcoming operational launch of the network, which is expected to operate fully in the second half of the year, once an adequate percentage of connections has been achieved.

This plant will carry out the tertiary disinfection process of wastewater from homes, hotels, and commercial, and public establishments in Puerto Viejo. Once neutralized, the water will be discharged into the sea without affecting the marine coastal ecosystem. The treated water from this plant will be pumped into the Caribbean Sea, exiting 900 meters off the coast.

"For this Administration, the protection of the oceans is fundamental. Therefore, I applaud the work of AyA for moving forward decisively on this project that will allow for the proper treatment of wastewater. With projects like this, we strengthen actions to develop a blue economy in coastal areas, thus consolidating resilient and healthy oceans, and the protection of marine ecosystems," highlighted the President of the Republic, Carlos Alvarado.

During the field visit, the Executive President of AyA, Tomás Martínez, the Water Superintendent, Marco Cordero, the General Deputy Manager of AyA, Natalie Montiel, the deputy manager of the AyA/BCIE Executing Unit, John Murillo, and the representative of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), Alejandro Rossi, as well as regional authorities from the ministries of Health; Environment and Tourism participated.

To date, 96% of the sanitary sewer network has been completed, including the pipes in the central area of Puerto Viejo and the Pan Dulce area. In addition to the treatment plant, 2.3 km of force mains have been installed, and the submarine outfall system has been installed.

Next month will conclude the installation of the piping that makes up the system, which will serve users in an area of 88 hectares and will also have two pumping stations and almost 600 anticipated connections for homes and businesses.

The Vice President of the Republic and coordinator of the Mesa Caribe, Marvin Rodríguez, emphasized the importance of these works in tourist areas like Puerto Viejo.

“From Mesa Caribe, we have supported this initiative that will provide appropriate treatment to wastewater, which reaches the sea. In addition to protecting everyone's health, we also protect the oceans and marine ecosystems," he pointed out.

The full operation of the system is pending the start of connections and the resolution of an appeal against the construction of one of the pumping stations located in the center of Puerto Viejo. Currently, the project is waiting for the administrative resolution to be able to start the construction of that station.

"It is worth noting that the design and construction of the plant comply with the highest standards of quality and innovation, ensuring that the water resulting from the treatment process is free of viruses, bacteria, and chlorine, which guarantees a null impact on the environment. In the future, this will also translate into the conservation of the coral reef, a key natural wealth for the touristic development of the area," highlighted Rossi from UNOPS, the office that was awarded the project.

Martínez commented that having the plant is a milestone to highlight because it is the spearhead of a national strategy for the management of wastewater in tourist areas.

"We hope to soon start similar works in Golfito, El Coco-Sardinal, Quepos, Tamarindo, Palmares, and downtown Limón," he pointed out.

With this project, 4,500 residents of the Puerto Viejo community and an estimated 20,000 visitors will benefit for more than 30 years, avoiding increasing pollution due to the septic tank system and illegal connections that discharge fecal matter into public areas.

The sanitary sewer system for Puerto Viejo de Limón is part of the Portfolio of projects of the Executing Unit of the AyA Investment Portfolio, financed by the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI).

“For CABEI, it is very satisfying to see this important progress in a work of transcendental importance for the South Caribbean of our country, both for its inhabitants and for the thousands of tourists who visit the area. Precisely, this project is part of a broad Water and Sanitation Program of US$103.5 million with which CABEI supports the country to ensure the water resource and proper sanitation for Costa Ricans,” highlighted the country's chief officer of CABEI in Costa Rica, Álvaro Alfaro.

As part of this project, cooperation was also established with the "Ambassadors of the Sea" Community Diving Center to monitor and rescue the Puerto Viejo coral reef.

Experts agree that the proper functioning of the sanitary sewer system will depend on the appropriate use of the service. This means, to ensure its ongoing success, it is crucial that the benefited individuals only dispose of waste from washing machines, toilets, baths, and kitchen sinks into the system, and that they connect to the system only when it is fully operational.


bottom of page