Field Notes: EUROPE

Regional: The European Union ratified the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) on 19 November 2004, which bans 12 toxic, cancer-causing chemicals.

Regional: The European Union ratified the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) on 19 November 2004, which bans 12 toxic, cancer-causing chemicals. Thirteen member states have already ratified the Stockholm Convention along with another 70 countries worldwide since its inception on 17 May 2004.

The “dirty dozen” include eight pesticides (DDT, aldrin, chlordane, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex and toxaphene) two industrial chemicals (hexachlorobenzene and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and two industrial by-products (dioxins and furans). POPs are chemicals that persist and bioaccumulate and have proven to be harmful to human health and the environment. The European Commission is expected to work towards adding nine additional POPs to the Convention.

Algeria: The UK company Biwater SA signed a new turnkey design, construction and operation contract for a wastewater treatment plant in Guelma. The Algerian government will fund the two-year contract, which calls for completion of the plant in 2006. Biwater and the Algerian company Inter Entreprise formed a joint venture in order to tender for the project in late 2002. The €13-million project, which will treat 32,000 m3/day of wastewater, is part of the government’s commitment to resolve pollution problems caused by many years of underinvestment in the wastewater sector.

UK: The UK organisation CIRIA’s new book “Sewage sludge in construction - not just a flush in the pan,” promotes a more sustainable route by assessing the potential benefits and risks of using sewage sludge derivatives within construction processes and materials. The report identifies several viable uses for sludge or incinerated sewage sludge ash for example, as a fine aggregate replacement in concrete and asphalt or as a sand and clay replacement in ceramic materials. Dried sludge can also be used as an alternative fuel in cement manufacture.

The UK water industry produces over one million tonnes of sewage sludge each year. Traditionally most of this sludge has been recycled to agriculture as a soil improver or disposed of at sea; however sea disposal has been prohibited since 1999. Additional environmental and financial implications of disposing of sludge to landfill have led to the exploration of sustainable and innovative approaches towards sludge disposal or recycling. Visit for more information.

UK: Thames Water Utilities awarded two framework agreements to the UK consultancy Mott MacDonald to support its capital programme for clean water networks in London. Both agreements, which will initially run for five years with the possibility of extensions to 2015, will help Thames Water meet its statutory obligations laid out in its AMP4 business plan agreed with OFWAT.

Mott MacDonald’s clean water consultancy framework includes the design and development of two new shafts and extensions for the London water ring main, in addition to projects extending or diverting large diameter trunk mains and extending service reservoirs.

Under a separate agreement Mott MacDonald’s cost consultants Franklin + Andrews will provide consultancy quantity surveying services. A major part of Franklin + Andrews’ programme of work includes Thames Water’s flagship project, the Thames Gateway desalination plant in East London. This £20-million plant, due for completion in 2007, is the UK’s first large scale desalination plant and will supply water to East London. Franklin + Andrews is also assisting Thames Water with the delivery of its sludge process work programme for the capital’s western region.

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