Problems plague Iraq wastewater plant

Oct. 27, 2008 at 1:12 PM

FALLUJAH, Iraq, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- A wastewater treatment plant meant to symbolize U.S. efforts to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure is over-budget and behind schedule, officials say.

The facility in Fallujah has tripled in cost to $100 million, is three years behind schedule and its many problems were never communicated to the U.S. State Department by the Army Corps of Engineers, investigators found. The report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction was quoted Monday by The New York Times.

The independent federal office, led by Stuart Bowen Jr., does not accuse the Corps, which had day-to-day responsibility for the plant's construction, of deliberately withholding information from U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker. But investigators did determine that senior U.S. Embassy and Corps officials knew of the problems for years without communicating them.

The Fallujah project was the subject of many Army Corps news releases praising it as an example of bring Western standards of sanitation to a city that had been the scene of pitched battles with Iraqi insurgents. But in reality, it was plagued by downsizings and delays, and price tags so high it will cost $10,000 per home to be hooked to the system, the Times said.

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