Works are set to commence to replace potentially hazardous asbestos pipes in three sections of the critical Nicosia sewerage network known as ‘Trunk E’, the European Commission announced on Thursday.

Originally constructed in 1986 as a bicommunal initiative, the Nicosia Trunk E sewerage section was built with asbestos pipes.

In 2000, a 2km section was replaced due to pipe deterioration. Now, after over 30 years of service, the remaining original asbestos sections are in a critical condition, the commission said, with portions of the network collapsing.

“While some emergency repairs have been undertaken, 4,200 metres of pipes need replacement to prevent potential hazards,” it said.

The works are funded by the EU and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (Undp).

“This significant project marks a vital step towards ensuring the health and safety of all Nicosians,” the commission said at the commencement of the project.

The replacement works will take place in three sections: northern Nicosia, the UN buffer zone, and the eastern section extending to the bicommunal Nicosia Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The works will cost €1 million and are scheduled to take place between June 15 and September 15.

This phase is said to be critical to mitigating immediate risks and ensuring the uninterrupted operation of Nicosia’s wastewater management system.

Judit Rozsa, acting director-general for Structural Reform Support at the European Commission said: “Both the sewerage network and the Wastewater Treatment Plant are evidence of a good partnership between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots for almost 40 years. The European Commission is pleased to support this joint effort, which facilitates the reunification of Cyprus”.

The commission said the collaborative effort between the EU and the UNDP underscores the importance of sustainable infrastructure development and the protection of public health.

“This project will not only replace deteriorating pipes but will also enhance the resilience and reliability of Nicosia’s sewer network for future generations,” it added.

The ongoing EU Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community aims at facilitating the reunification of Cyprus by encouraging the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community, with particular emphasis on the economic integration of the island.