Gozo biological treatment plant: A critique

Date : 2010
Client : Xewkija Local Council


A pre-submission request for development for a Biological Treatment Plant in Gozo was submitted to the Environment Protection Directorate. The capacity of the plant has to be such as to handle manure production in Gozo which currently is set at an annual production of circa 93,000 and 11,000 tonnes by wet mass and dry matter respectively. The objective of the proposed plant is for the island to comply with Council Directive 91/676/EEC, which directive is concerned with the protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources. Through Legal Notice LN233/04, the Maltese archipelago has been declared a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone.

The site at Tal-Kus was preferred following a site selection exercise. It is located within MÄ¡arr Ix-Xini Regional Park, a joint initiative of Xewkija and Sannat Local Councils. The valley is a Level 1 Area of Ecological Importance (AEI) and Site of Scientific Importance (SSI) and forms an integral part of the geocultural setting of the area, an area where archeological excavations have been ongoing by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage and the University of Malta since 2005. The disused quarry and the surrounding garigue are in the buffer zone of the valley and are scheduled as Level 3 AEI and SSI.

Two alternative sites, each measuring 13,000m², were identified. The site locations for both alternatives do take into account recent development planning history but ignore existing topography. Original field boundaries, which at Mgarr Ix-Xini both define a given territory and serve as retaining structures, mirror the site contours.