The initial signing of the agreement was done at the 48th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in Samoa by Finance minister Mark Brown.
Brown said the financial support will be sealed later this year by prime minister Henry Puna.
He said the support was part of the first installment towards the sanitation programme and was allocated through the EU’s budget support.
“They have given the money to the Cook Islands to utilise in this particular sector of sanitation. It will assist with improving water quality testing and with the strategy and the roll out of the wider sanitation programme that we are going to implement.”
Brown said alongside this major signing, a private meeting was held with the Apia Sanitation enterprise to study the sanitation programme they are undertaking.
He said two of the Cook Islands delegates to the Forum were given a tour of the facility.
“There are great similarities in what we are requiring for a reticulated sanitation system,” Brown said.
“Their one services the main town area of Apia. It’s got about 20kms of pipe and a pumping station. It has a processing treatment facility which separates the solids from the waste, removes the phosphate from the water and is UV-treated, so what comes out is similar to what comes out of our water treatment stations here.”
Brown said the treated water from the Apia sanitation facility was pumped out into the ocean.
“They have been running this project for four years. At that time, there was no vegetation along the beach where the water is now being pumped out.
“Four years later, there has been a significant vegetation growth, particularly mangrove swamps that have developed as a result of this fresh water.”
Brown said they are hoping use the success of the Apia sanitation project as an example to assure Cook Islanders that the discharge into the sea after being treated is environmentally friendly.
“I hope this will address the concern they (the people) have on waste being discharged at the sea,” he said.
“We are very happy with the outcome (EU signing and tour) and I hope that speeds up this planning process so that we can get the implementation of the project underway.”
Brown was accompanied to the Forum by PM Puna and senior executives from the government and private sector.