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Treating Solid Waste in Morocco

City officials in Fes, Morocco were concerned in the late 1990s that solid waste, if not managed properly, would contribute to public health problems and poor living conditions. Responding to a request by the Communauté Urbaine de la Wilaya de Fes (CUWF), the region's inter-city government authority, USTDA recognized a long-term opportunity and funded a feasibility study to evaluate possible solutions to Fes' waste management needs. The study was conducted by Edgeboro International; a New Jersey-based environmental design, management and construction company.

Ultimately, the results of this study are contributing to more than $62 million in U.S. exports for multiple projects. Of particular importance was CUWF's decision to seek bids for the solid waste management project in Fes that opened the door for Edgeboro International (Milltown, New Jersey) and Global Environmental Sustainability, Inc. (GESI) (Princeton, New Jersey) to play a leadership role in its implementation. The 10-year management, engineering and services contract awarded for the construction and operation of a controlled landfill in Fes was the first of its kind in Morocco. This contract was extended in 2007 for another 20 years to recover and reuse the biogas from the landfill by generating approximately 3 megawatts of electricity that could be used for public lighting and reducing approximately 100,000 tons per year of greenhouse gas emissions.

Capitalizing on USTDA's previous efforts, Edgeboro and GESI recently were awarded an 18-year contract for the closure of the old landfill and the construction and operation of a new controlled landfill in Casablanca, the largest in Morocco. The Casablanca project will produce approximately 6 megawatts of electricity and reduce approximately 400,000 tons per year of greenhouse gas emissions.

GESI's President, Dr. Ahmed Hamidi, credits USTDA for setting the stage for these activities, which represent the first privatization of waste management in Morocco. Dr. Hamidi concluded, "USTDA's initial efforts resulted in the closure of old open dumps, the construction of new state of the art controlled landfills, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and the generation of revenues to several Moroccan communities by the sale of electricity and carbon credits generated from the solid waste."