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Giving wastewater its full value

Ovilléo: new generation wastewater treatment plant


With its treatment capacity for a population equivalent of 620,000, the biggest wastewater treatment plant in northern France is also one of the most challenging. Equipped with two different treatment trains, Ovilléo provides separate treatment for the wastewater and stormwater of MEL’s 37 districts. In rainy weather, it is capable of pumping an hourly volume of water equivalent to that of 11 Olympic swimming pools. Located in the middle of an urban area, every care is taken to keep odors under control, with permanent monitoring and treatment of emission sources. Lastly, the plant produces biogas that is stored in gasholders and covers almost 94% of the site’s thermal energy needs. Veolia is to operate this new generation plant for five years.


Delegated management: japanese style


Veolia signed Japan’s first-ever concession contract for a municipal wastewater treatment plant. As the lead company in a consortium of which it holds over 50%, Veolia has responsibility for 20 years for the wastewater treatment plant in Hamamatsu, a city with a population of 810,000 in Shizuoka Prefecture.
This €450 million contract is the first public-private partnership (PPP), but no doubt not the last.
The Japanese government is strongly encouraging local government authorities to think about using delegated management solutions and estimates that close to ¥21,000 billion (€160 billion) of PPPs could be signed by 2022.


Le Mans: digesting the situation


Making full use of the energy potential of wastewater treatment sludge is the aim of the Le Mans metropolitan authority in France. It awarded Veolia a 9-year contract to operate the La Chauvinière wastewater treatment plant, where the company will build an anaerobic digester to come into service at the end of 2020.
From the sludge, the plant will produce energy in the form of biomethane, which will be fed into the city’s gas network. The amount produced will be the equivalent to the one used by the city’s buses.


Wastewater, a poorly exploited resource

For the United Nations World Water Day, which focused for the first time on sanitation, the international community acknowledged the central role sanitation plays in public policy. When approached as a complete industrial cycle that covers wastewater collection, treatment and reuse, sanitation can be both an answer to combating waterborne diseases (2.5 billion people still do not have access to even a basic system), and a resource to help overcome water stress. Recycled wastewater is the only resource that grows apace with economic development. Climate-related challenges and urban development are speeding up the process of taking sanitation into account, including the risks involved (extreme phenomena) and the opportunities to be gained from transforming wastewater into a resource in places where water stress is a problem. The technical solutions exist and can be adapted to local requirements. The political responsibility now rests with urban planners. They are the ones who need to break down the silos, match resources with local needs, and involve the communities concerned. Sanitation can be an extraordinary force in helping shape the city we need.
Pierre Victoria
Director of Sustainable Development for Veolia