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Châlons-en-Champagne, France. Taking inspiration from nature to manage water-related natural risks

Veolia set about conserving and restoring biodiversity along the banks of the Marne as part of its contract with the Châlons-en-Champagne inter-municipality partnership in eastern France. Veolia is also working to raise awareness among users about the need to save water resources, species and endemic natural environments.

The biodiversity accelerator zone at the Châlons-en-Champagne wastewater treatment plant was originally a wooded area before extensive construction-driven land take in the years after 1950. In 2006, demolition of the old plant and construction of a new one freed up space on the banks of the Marne. A succession of wetland environments were created to encourage aquatic plant and animal life to flourish. This allowed the area to return to something close to its natural state. The project integrates into the natural ecology of the Marne flood plain.
Establishing this intermediate planted wetland zone between the wastewater plant outlet and the river offers a host of benefits: regulation of wastewater and water quality, greater biodiversity in the zone, stabilization of riverbanks in the event of flooding or drought, and soil enriching.

A visitor trail has been built at the wastewater treatment plant to educate people about biodiversity, the large water cycle, and ways to improve their behavior in terms of their own domestic wastewater habits.