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QR10bn drainage project in south Doha up for tender.

Nasser Gaith al-Kuwari, Ambrose McGuire, John Drummie and Terry Krause at the project unveiling ceremony at Grand Hayatt Doha yesterday. By Ramesh Mathew/Staff Reporter The project to launch the upgrading and expanding of the sewerage infrastructure in south Doha will be tendered towards the end of this year. Work is expected to begin in the first quarter of the next year.

The salient features of the massive project, "Inner Doha Re-sewerage Implementation Strategy (Idris)", which is expected to cost about QR10bn, were unveiled yesterday by a team of consultants working with Qatar's Public Works Authority (Asghal) at a gathering attended by engineering and technical professionals, contractors, consultants and bankers .

While explaining the "magnitude" of the project that extends upto Mesaieed, officials hoped it would meet the demands of the population growth of an additional 1mn residents in what they referred to as South Doha catchment.

It will be fully implemented in about seven to eight years, with the earliest commissioning dates set for sometime in the middle of 2019.

Once implemented, the project is expected to permanently solve the problem of sewage water flooding in parts of Doha city and the Industrial Area, participating engineers said.

While introducing the strategy, which is aimed at meeting the long-term requirements of the growing population of the southern side in a big way, drainage project department manager Nasser Ghaith al-Kuwari said that Ashghal had adopted a "strategic and comprehensive" approach to deliver some of the country's largest infrastructure projects aimed at supporting its future socio-economic needs and Idris is one of them.

"Idris will overhaul South Doha's existing networks' capabilities and upgrade it significantly for decades to come," he said.

The project's highlights include a more than 70km long treated sewage effluent return mains, a deep terminal pump station of approximately 60m, advanced sewage treatment works with an initial capacity of 500mn liters per day, a conveyance system consisting of over 30km of deep main trunk sewerage and 70km of lateral interceptor sewers.

Lateral sewers, it was told, would be used to intercept the flows and to relieve existing overloaded system. The flows will be channelised by gravity to the terminal pump station through the main trunk sewer and then lifted to the new Doha South Sewage Treatment Works (STW) in Mesaieed Industrial City (MIC).

With initial projections indicating that the long-term foul sewage will range from 670mn to 1,100mn litres a day, the new plant will be built in phases to match actual growth in the catchment area. The initial phase to be built under the Idris will treat 500mn litres of effluent wastes a day with the site layout configured to accommodate additional phases that could eventually bring its total capacity to 1,200mn litres a day.

The new Terminal Pump Station (TPS) and Doha South Sewage Treatment Works (STW) will be constructed at the downstream end of the Idris conveyance system.

The TPS will be designed with a peak pumping capacity of approximately 12mn cubic metres/sec and conveyed to the New Doha South STW, with an initial capacity of upto 500mn litres per day (MLD), where it will be processed and reclaimed as treated sewage effluent for irrigation purposes.

Also speaking, Ambrose McGuire, of CH2M Hill, a global leader in programme management and engineering consulting, said that Idris had been conceived and developed as a major deep tunnel sewerage network and an advanced sewage treatment that would effectively return treated water for irrigation, mainly in the farms, spread over on the country's western side.

CH2M Hill has been appointed as the programme consultant for the project to develop and oversee the implementation of Idris in a safe and sustainable manner, using some of the innovative approaches in similar projects in the UK, Singapore and Abu Dhabi. The entire programme, being implemented after extensive studies and researches carried out by teams of acclaimed professionals, took an integrated approach whereby various influences on sewage flows were examined. They included projected community growth, existing conditions of the drainage system and a host of forthcoming developments such as Doha Expressway Motorway System and Qatar Rail's Metro, works of which are underway.

Once the work is over, the project will help decommission more than 30 ageing pumping stations in the inner city areas of Doha and replace them with a single large deep terminal pump station, in the Mesaieed area.

It was also explained yesterday that owing to the significant depths of the tunnelling works below ground, Idris will utilise some high utility sub-surface techniques and it would help minimise the otherwise usual disruption associated with utility pipeline works.

Consultant Terry Krause and drainage maintenance manager at Ashghal John Drummie explained the important features of the project while taking part in an inter-active session held after its introduction.

Code of life becomes data bank in computer breakthrough AFP Paris Scientists in Britain yesterday announced a breakthrough in the quest to turn DNA into a revolutionary form of data storage.

A speck of man-made DNA can hold mountains of data that can be freeze-dried, shipped and stored, potentially for thousands of years, they said.

The contents are "read" by sequencing the DNA - as is routinely done today, in genetic fingerprinting and so on - and turning it back into computer code.

"We already know that DNA is a robust way to store information because we can extract it from bones of woolly mammoths, which date back tens of thousands of years, and make sense of it," said Nick Goldman of the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) in Cambridge.

"It's also incredibly small, dense and does not need any power for storage, so shipping and keeping it is easy." DNA is the famous double helix of compounds - a long, coiled molecular "ladder" comprising four chemical rungs, adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine, which team up in pairs. C teams up with G, and T teams up with A.

The letter sequence comprises the genome, or the chemical blueprint for making and sustaining life. Human DNA has more than 3bn letters, coiled into packages of 24 chromosomes.

The project entails taking data in the form of zeros and 1s in computing's binary code, and transcribing it into "Base-3" code, which uses zeros, 1s and 2s.

The data is transcribed for a second time into DNA code, which is based on the A, C, G and T. A block of five letters is used for a single binary digit.

The letters are then turned into molecules, using lab-dish chemicals.

The work does not entail using any living DNA, nor does it seek to create any life form and in fact the man-made code would be quite useless in anything biological, the researchers said.

"We have absolutely no intention of messing with life," said Goldman.

Only short strings of DNA can be made, which means the message has to be chopped up into small sections of 117 letters, each attached to a tiny address tag, rather like packet-switching in Internet data, which enables data to be reassembled.

To prove their concept, the team encoded an MP3 recording of Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech; a digital photo of their lab; a PDF of the landmark study in 1953 that described the structure of DNA; a file of all of Shakespeare's sonnets; and a document that describes the data storage technique.

"We downloaded the files from the web and used them to synthesise hundreds of thousands of pieces of DNA. The result looks like a tiny piece of dust," said Emily Leproust of Agilent, a US biotech company that took the digital data and used it to synthesise molecules of DNA in the lab.

Agilent then mailed the sample back across the Atlantic to the EBI, where the researchers soaked the DNA in water to reconstitute it and used standard sequencing machines to unravel the code. They recovered and read the files with 100-percent accuracy.

The work follows a big step last year when scientists at Harvard announced they had stored 700 terabytes of data - enough for around 70,000 movies - in a gram of DNA.

The new method eliminates the risk of error when the DNA is read, say the researchers, whose work appears in the journal Nature.

"We figured, let's break up the code into lots of overlapping fragments going in both directions, with indexing information showing where each fragment belongs in the overall code, and make a coding scheme that doesn't allow repeats," said co-author Ewan Birney.

"That way, you would have to have the same error on four different fragments for it to fail, and that would be very rare." Data is accumulating massively around the world, and storing it is a headache. Magnetic and optical discs are voluminous, need to be kept in cool, dry conditions and are prone to decay.

"The only limit (for DNA storage) is the cost," said Birney.

Sequencing and reading the DNA takes a couple of weeks with present technology, so it is not suitable for jobs needing instant data retrieval.

Instead, it would be appropriate for data that would be stored for between 500 and 5,000 years, such as a doomsday encyclopaedia of knowledge and culture.

But on current trends, sequencing costs could fall by a factor of 20 within a decade, making DNA storage economically feasible for timeframes of less than 50 years, the authors claim.

Gulf Times Newspaper 2012

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Publication:Gulf Times (Doha, Qatar)
Date:Jan 24, 2013
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