This is not pretty, I used Google Translate, the original was Dutch, but the document is eye opening

Oranjestad, May 26, 2024

Subject: Draft National Ordinance on transfer of sewer network and waste incinerator / emergency measures to prevent disaster with the sewage treatment plant (RWZI) in Bubali / urgent construction of new RWZI / establishment of odor load standards

Aruba is booming and has been for decades. Unfortunately, there was only an eye for the benefits of this, and not also for the burdens. One of those charges concerned the RWZI Bubali.

Due to the enormous growth, it was crucial to maintain it properly and expand its capacity. However, that didn’t happen; there existed simply an unwillingness to provide sufficient public resources for this to be settled.

Completely ignored for years by successive governments that, among other things, connecting new hotels to the sewer on the one hand and maintenance and expanding the capacity of the RWZI on the other hand, are two sides of the same medal.

There has clearly been gross mismanagement, with possible dramatic consequences for public health, nature and the environment.

It has now been proposed to privatize the RWZI. This is part of the recent draft National Ordinance on transfer of sewer network presented to parliament and waste incinerator.

Although we welcome this privatization, our concerns remain very great.

The privatization of the RWZI is anything but a total solution, see also recent advice from the Advisory Council. It is certain that much more is needed to prevent serious odor and fly nuisance and to ensure that the health of tourists and the population doesn’t remains at risk. It’s on this at the moment – via the Bubali salina  – virtually untreated sewage discharged into the sea, between Eagle Beach and Palm Beach, which is of course a drama for public health. This has been demonstrated many times (including in the Carmabi report).

Likewise, virtually untreated water is discharged into the Bubali salina and the other saliñas, being so-called RAMSAR areas, with large irreparable damage to nature and the environment. The government should commit itself to fixing this and should be ashamed. Any form of nuisance caused by the RWZI must be reported immediately and fixed.

This letter draws attention to what else can be done and what’s needed. This concerns the following four aspects, all of which need to be addressed and included in the draft National Ordinance on the transfer of the sewer network waste incinerator:

(a) taking a package of emergency measures to limit nuisance for the period until a new RWZI is built;

(b) the urgent construction of a new RWZI with a capacity of at least 15,000 m³ at a new location, or otherwise at the current location below application of stringent conditions (i.e. application of specific design specifications to prevent or minimize odor emissions);

(c) securing the financing of investments related to all of the foregoing are necessary in the short term as well as the regular ones, the annual maintenance costs;

(d) the establishment of odor nuisance standards.

Package of emergency measures

The Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort (‘AMBR’) has been working for years to persuade the government to take the necessary emergency measures to ensure that odor and fly nuisance is limited as much as possible.

Already in 2002 there were major problems with the RWZI, which caused that AMBR to initiate summary proceedings. This led to a settlement agreement of 21 May 2002 (appendix 1). Aruba took a step in this number of contractual obligations to combat the nuisance.

However, Aruba did not fulfill its agreements – even then. As a result, AMBR was forced to start a second summary proceeding, the claims of which were granted by judgment of 17 May 2006 (appendix 2).

After the summary proceedings were granted, AMBR is also a substantive procedure (in this regard of compensation for damage suffered). However, Aruba was keen to settle, which resulted in a second settlement agreement (Appendix 3).

This settlement agreement (dated November 28, 2007) followed that Aruba once again took on contractual obligations to combat the nuisance.

Aruba would – in a general sense – do everything possible to eliminate odors to prevent fly nuisance in the RWZI. In addition, Aruba took the obligation to introduce a sewerage tax within five years.

In the years that followed, AMBR continued to frequently complain about the failure to comply with the agreements made and the enormous odor and fly nuisance. It also sent extensive urgent letters to all those involved (including on May 28, 2019, March 5, 2020, May 20, 2020, September 21, 2021 and February 28, 2023). Also warnings have been given repeatedly over time by research institutes in their various reports (including Witteveen & Bos, TNO, Carambi, RoyalHaskoning, Carmabi).

It was also pointed out the enormous risks for the public health, nature and the environment and the need for investments in maintenance of the RWZI and expansion of capacity.

Despite all this, however, Aruba remained reluctant to accept the (increasing challenges) to actually tackle problems with the RWZI. AMBR was now desperate and, in recent years, was once again forced to go to court to force emergency measures to be taken, through three summary proceedings. That was in the interest of everything and everyone.

The judge has ruled in her favor each time, first by means of a judgment, November 23, 2022 (attachment 4). Aruba was once again sentenced to take a number of concrete measures to reduce odor and fly nuisance. This mainly concerned the installation of new aerators overhauling brush aerators and remediating the oxidation ditch. Aruba was given ample time to take these measures (even extra time to following a judgment of March 16, 2023 in so-called execution summary proceedings;

Annex 5), after which Aruba would forfeit penalty payments.

Because Aruba kept burying its head in the sand and therefore the odor nuisance AMBR also went to the summary proceedings judge in 2023. Again Aruba was ordered to take emergency measures; judgment of 13 December 2023 (appendix 6).

In addition, Aruba was condemned to exert itself as much as possible to continue efforts to operate three aerators and six brush aerators and in addition to bioaugmentation (a process) without interruption where cultured micro-organisms break down waste products, following the supplier’s instructions.

In the meantime, AMBR also had (once again) proceedings on the merits (regarding compensation for damage suffered). By judgment of December 13, 2023 (appendix 7) it was herein declared that Aruba from 2002 up to and including the present acts unlawfully towards AMBR by taking no or insufficient measures have taken to repair the RWZI and make it suitable and keep it suitable to adequately treat the quantities of sewage discharged there and to process it in such a way that AMBR does not cause any damage to the experience nuisance/nuisance in the form of stench and/or flies.

However, to our great surprise, this still turned out to be insufficient for Aruba to finally wake up. As a result, the nuisance continued, to great frustration, continued unabated and were once again more emergency measures necessary. The summary judgment judge also completely agreed with AMBR in this regard; verdict of May 8, 2024 (appendix 8).

These emergency measures are crucial in every respect. The RWZI in Bubali is seriously neglected for many years and also an extension of the capacity was wrongly omitted. The consequences of this are, as well set out in the Explanatory Memorandum to the draft National Ordinance transfer of sewer network and waste incinerator, over time has become increasingly concrete and visible.

The RWZI has undeniably become a (too) big risk factor for Aruba. The Bubali RWZI was designed and built to handle 4,500 m³ of sewage per day purifying and it is also certain that there is currently 8,000 to 10,000 m³ per day is discharged to the RWZI, sometimes as much as 12,000 m³ per day when it rains. This will only increase as a result of connections from, among others, new hotels, resorts, condominiums, etc.

AMBR has, in following Aruba Tourism Authority, made calculations. It speaks for itself that with this significant undercapacity, the current RWZI is not overdue may require maintenance and its capacity must be fully restored deployed. To this end, following the judgment of May 8, 2024, the following applies conditions to be met:

– Sufficient aeration (oxidation) of the wastewater with 6 brush aerators and 5 aerators.

– Daily removal of the sludge (also called sludge or organic load) from the oxidation ditch.

– Remove the foam caused by, among other things, within 24 hours of unauthorized fat discharges;

– Operation and use of the three present settling tanks.

– Use of sufficient micro-organisms through bio-augmentation (such as had already been decided in the judgment of December 13, 2023), to support the purification process, precisely because it is significant undercapacity.

– Taking samples of the influent and effluent daily and testing them testing and communicating the test results to the suppliers of the bioaugmentation, so that it can be used as effectively as possible daily.

These are the minimum conditions to ensure that the RWZI works at all works properly and (therefore) the capacity of 4,500 m³ can (largely) be achieved. However, there obviously remains the problem that there is considerably more need to be processed beyond that capacity. For this reason, the summary proceedings judge also ordered Aruba, in the judgment of May 8, 2024, to one or more to operate multiple mobile RWZI installations with such capacity that the RWZI WWTP (including the existing installation) is at least 12,000 m³ can process wastewater per day until the new WWTP is ready. This one is the placed on the north side of the RWZI WWTP site with facilities for covering, extraction and air treatment.

The summary proceedings judge has not yet agreed to AMBR’s demand that there should be a ban on connecting new hotels to the sewer. Thereby However, she has indicated that this will change if not all emergency measures are taken, including the expansion of the processing capacity to at least 12,000 m³ of wastewater per day, and furthermore if the maximum capacity is exceeded, request one hotel permits should be rejected or otherwise determined that the applicant must process the wastewater himself.

It is very necessary that transfer is included in the draft National Ordinance sewer network and waste incineration plant are also included in Aruba Wastewater Sustainable Solutions NV takes the emergency measures immediately will take after privatization. The government has been coming since the beginning of this century agreements and does not follow or fails to follow court decisions wasted again for some time. The misery continues like this.

It cannot be the case that AMBR will have to initiate summary proceedings after privatization will start up against Aruba Wastewater Sustainable Solutions NV with the same commitment as before against the Country. It cannot simply be relied upon finally what is needed is done. This can only be guaranteed through legislation.

Otherwise, Aruba Wastewater Sustainable Solutions NV is simply in danger of doing the same to continue, with the same neglected RWZI and also the same organization, which it takes over from DOW and which has been resigned to the problem for years. Also the The Advisory Council has pointed this out. There needs to be a different ‘mindset’. Until then, AMBR will of course continue to fight, those responsible continue to appeal and also continue to try to have a connection ban lifted force.

Urgent construction of a new RWZI

The RWZI poses an acute danger to the excellent tourist reputation, such as Aruba could easily turn into a reputation of being backward tourist area with smelly beaches that are very harmful to the public health. The emergency measures discussed above only lead to one reducing the risk for this.

The most important thing is that work is finally done a structural solution. A completely new one is needed with great enthusiasm

RWZI to be built at another location, replacing the current one RWZI.

This is of course impossible to separate his is of course impossible to consider separately from the transfer of the RWZI to Aruba Wastewater Sustainable Solutions NV. The construction of a completely new one RWZI, the location where it should be located and its financing (see below).

must therefore undeniably all become part of the draft National Ordinance on the transfer of sewer network and waste incineration plant (and according to the parliamentary debate on this). This is also incorrect for the time being not the case.

The new RWZI should be built directly west of the current one location. This may contribute to the nuisance for nearby resorts and theirs guests finally ends after decades. The same applies to the flow of negative reviews on social media by tourists and the population, of which the entire tourism sector is damaged. At that new location there will (also) other resorts do not experience any inconvenience, partly due to the fact that the wind is the north-east trade wind.

It has already been determined that there is more to the west of the current location of the RWZI then there is sufficient space for a new RWZI with a capacity of at least 15,000 m³ per day. Moreover, an advantage of relocation is that the current oxidation ditch can then be used as a buffer for excess water rain, of course or with the required provisions for covering and extraction and air treatment.

A possible alternative is that the RWZI WWTP is (after all) built on the current one location, but taking into account specific design specifications minimization of odor emissions. According to the master plan drawn up by RHDVD Waste Water Aruba (dated July 21, 2002), this concerns a so-called SBR installation in accordance with Nereda technology taking into account the following points of interest:

 location of the influent buffer and Nereda (SBR) tanks as far north as possible

the current RWZI site (i.e. with maximum distance to buildings);

 covering both the influent buffer and the Nereda (SBR) tanks with robust

air and odor treatment in two stages to reduce odor emissions minimizing (gas scrubbing, biofiltration/lava filter and/or activated carbon filtration);  design of the installation parts of the new RWZI based on a realistic forecast for the increase in waste water in the period up to 2035-2040, also taking into account daily, but also seasonal, variation quality and quantity of the wastewater to be treated.

There is a need for haste. A new WWTP can be realized within 3 years possible, as Aruba Wastewater Sustainable Solutions NV previously had let them know. Therefore, transfer should be included in the draft National Ordinance sewer network and waste incinerator to be included in Aruba Wastewater Sustainable Solutions NV will serve this new RWZI by July 1, 2027 at the latest

to be realized at the designated location, otherwise this would take a long time job is in danger of being pushed aside.

Guaranteeing financing of necessary investments in the short term in the context of privatization, it was initially proposed to be introduce (new) tax on the ED card. Then it is proposed to increase the special residence tax (‘BBV’) and part of the proceeds from that increased BBV to Aruba Wastewater Sustainable Solutions NV, after 25 years of fighting, this is for us “about it for a bit”.

However, in our opinion, preference should be given to the introduction of a hybrid tax. That is, one of the aforementioned taxes export of the necessary investments in the short term, therefore with a temporary nature. A sewerage tax must then also be introduced with an amount per m³ of water based on the water use of everyone who is connected to the sewer. A sewerage tax, the introduction of which was also laid down in the above the aforementioned settlement agreement of November 28, 2007 with AMBR more justice to the principle of “the polluter pays”, which also leads to this to more awareness. This charge can be entered with a threshold exemption and/or reduced rate for small users, in order to: to (completely) spare ‘average’ residents. The foregoing, of course together with the sale of purified water for golf courses, agriculture, hotels and other customers to reduce costs!

However, as far as we are concerned, it is important that in the very short term (i.e. within several months) large investments are necessary to solve the problem to finally tackle the RWZI WWTP thoroughly and its financing must be guaranteed. There is no time to wait first sufficient amounts of taxes levied with regard to the ED card or BBV that will be transferred to Aruba Wastewater Sustainable Solutions NV or on the introduction of a sewerage tax. There should be enough in the short term amounts must be available to take immediate action.

We understand that in recent days a “deal” has been reached with the Netherlands has been achieved whereby Episode. 16 million has become available for investments for which a destination is still being sought. It cannot be a coincidence that the Episode. 16 million in 2022 – inexplicably – from the DOW budget (RWZI destination) has been removed, which means that exactly the same amount is now available has come, this can only be described as “karma”!

Determination of odor exposure standards

It is equally necessary to prevent Aruba  – as they do every time does in the various legal proceedings – continues to try to reduce the nuisance of to downplay the RWZI WWTP. To this end, odor exposure standards should be established, through legislation in accordance with European guidelines, that Aruba Wastewater Sustainable Solutions NV immediately upon privatization will apply.

Why should residents of Aruba be less protected?

Residents of the European Union? These standards can be modeled on Netherlands for its elaboration in legislation and regulations. For more explanation in this regard, reference is made to:

A Nuisance Permit as referred to in the new RWZI WWTP is required for the new RWZI

Nuisance ordinance to be issued after conducting a so-called EIA study. Er the so-called LBS protocol must also be complied with. There are also requirements to be set in accordance with international standards.

Furthermore, there should be clear rules regarding ‘FOG’ (fat, oil and grease). The discharge of, for example, grease into the sewer by resorts, restaurants and others cause major problems in the treatment of sewage water. Those rules must be kept – now and in the future – and should be added Violation of this will also result in heavy fines being imposed.

It is very necessary that all of the above is also taken into account consideration of the draft National Ordinance. The new RWZ must be installed no later than 1 to be realized by July 2027, taking into account the foregoing.

The odor exposure standards may be possible. via a national decree or ministerial regulation be further developed. However, the legal basis for this serves just as much to become part of the draft National Ordinance on transfer sewer network and waste incinerator. This aspect is also under investigation for the time being wrongly not part of it. Urgent appeal to the government and parliament.

There can be no discussion whatsoever about the need for emergency measures are taken to prevent serious nuisance until the new RWZI is in place, in accordance with the judgment in summary proceedings of May 8, 2023. This serves part to become part of the draft National Ordinance on the transfer of the sewer network waste incinerator.

The same applies to the realization of the new WWTP, its location and its appearance date thereof. This needs to be prioritized and so should funding be guaranteed the funds used for this purpose and for the benefit of the short-term emergency measures are necessary. The same applies to the annual one maintenance costs through a sewerage tax. This should also be included of this draft National Ordinance.

Finally, the draft National Ordinance must supply a legal basis included for the determination of odor pollution standards.

We hereby make an appeal, in the interest of everything and everyone who makes Aruba a is committed to making the necessary changes to this end the draft National Ordinance before proceeding with approval, otherwise the nuisance will continue for a long time and the tourist pillar will continue to stagger and possibly eventually fall over.

Yours faithfully,

Manor Beach Resort NV

Jurgen van Schaijk

Managing Director


  1. settlement agreement of May 21, 2002
  2. summary judgment of 17 May 2006 (emergency measures)
  3. settlement agreement of November 28, 2007
  4. summary judgment of November 23, 2022 (emergency measures)
  5. summary judgment of March 16, 2023 (executive summary proceedings)
  6. summary judgment of December 13, 2023 (emergency measures)
  7. judgment in the substantive proceedings of December 13, 2023 (regarding liability

for damage)

  1. summary judgment of 8 May 2024 (emergency measures)


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May 27, 2024
Rona Coster