WorldwideNews: EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST

SIAAP, the wastewater treatment authority for Greater Paris, awarded two contracts worth g 125 million to Ondeo Degrémont.

Ondeo Degrémont wins two Paris contracts

SIAAP, the wastewater treatment authority for Greater Paris, awarded two contracts worth € 125 million to Ondeo Degrémont. Under the contracts, the company will build a nitrogen removal unit at the Seine Aval facility at Achères, west of Paris, and operate the Seine Amont facility at Valenton, south of Paris. SIAAP is responsible for treating wastewater from more than 8.2 million people in the Paris region.

SIAPP chose Ondeo Degrémont's Biofor® biofiltration process to remove nitrogen from the treated water before its release into the Seine. This is a first significant step in the SIAAP modernisation programme for the SeineAval facility, which will treat an average of 1.5 million m3 per day by 2005. This amount is equivalent to four or five million people. Eleven Biofor units will be constructed in a closed building designed to blend unobtrusively with the surrounding site.

The operations and management contract for the Seine Amont wastewater treatment plant covers management of all wastewater and sludge treatment units and coincides with major improvements at this facility. This plant treats 300,000 to 600,000 m3 a day.

Hybrid desalination study surveys cogeneration plants

A comprehensive and detailed study of hybrid thermal and membrane seawater desalination plant schemes, prepared under the sponsorship of the Middle East Desalination Research Centre (MEDRC) in Muscat, Oman, may now be downloaded from the MEDRC web site (www.medrc.org). The study focuses on the economics and potential for reducing water and power production costs and demand mismatches within dual-purpose cogenerating stations. The study surveys the large cogenerating plants operating today in the Middle East, computes their water and power production costs at both OPEC and non-OPEC fuel costs, and quantifies the benefits to be gained by adopting hybrid desalination plant schemes based on advanced, but currently available technologies and designs. The resultant savings are approximately tens of millions of US dollars annually for countries, such as Abu Dhabi and Kuwait.

The final report, which includes 48 tables and 42 figures, may be downloaded from the MEDRC web site by clicking "Research Program," "Final Reports" and finally on "Project No. 97-AS-008a."

HELCOM deletes 17 Hot Spots in Baltic Sea

Efforts by Baltic Sea Countries to improve water quality in recent years resulted in the deletion of 17 Hot Spots, which brings the number of remaining Hot Spots to 81. In the past decade, 51 hot spots of the Joint Comprehensive Baltic Sea Environmental Action Programme have been cleaned up.

The 19th meeting of the HELCOM Programme Implementation Task Force (PITF), held in Stockholm, Sweden, on 18 to 19 November, was attended by delegates from Baltic Sea countries, representatives of the World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and development, Council of Europe Development Bank, and the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation.

PITF Chairman Göte Svenson expects Baltic nations will be able to fully restore most of the remaining Hot Spots within 10 years - at the end of the 20-year programme. Eight of the nine Baltic Sea countries will be members of the European Union, so PITF and HELCOM are discussing means to tailor the implementation of the programme to the new conditions.

Algal blooms in the Baltic Sea increased significantly this year, reported the HELCOM Monitoring and Assessment Group at its fourth meeting, which was held in Warnemünde, Germany on 21 to 25 October. Algal blooms were enhanced by high nutrient inputs from spring onwards, which were even increased by an abnormally high precipitation in the western Baltic drainage area. Last February, precipitation measured more than 273% of the average.

European market potential for outsourcing municipal water services

The percentage of privately managed systems remains quite low in Europe, although over the past decade there has been a steady move towards private sector participation in the water sector, reported Cecilia Cabodi, a sector development analyst at Frost & Sullivan (www.frost.com). This trend gives rise to great potential for outsourcing municipal water services as one of the ways to encourage cooperation between the public and private sectors.

She explained: "In Europe, private sector participation is at its highest in France and the UK, although the participation models are very different in each country.

Vivendi and Ondeo dominate the global market for municipal outsourcing, having picked up many large concession contracts in Asia, Eastern Europe and South America. However, in Western Europe, the market is more variable. A whole range of contractual models, not large concession contracts, make up current contracts. "Although the same companies are emerging as market leaders, they are being forced to be more flexible and creative in order to operate in markets previously closed to private sector penetration," she concluded.

FIELD NOTES

Austria: ITT Flygt will supply submersible mixers, diffusers and piping system for the new biological treatment process at the City of Vienna's main wastewater treatment plant. The plant is undergoing expansion, raising the capacity by 60% to serve the equivalent of four million people. In total, 36,000 Sanitaire diffusers and 120 Flygt mixers will be used in 15 tanks. The order, totalling US$ 5 million, includes the supply of the complete piping system inside the tanks, mixer guide bars and project management services.

Diffusers and mixers will be installed in one of the tanks during 2003, which will be used for performance tests. The remaining 14 tanks will be fitted during 2004. Start-up of the new biological treatment process is scheduled for the end of 2005. ITT Flygt AB is based in Stockholm, Sweden.

Estonia: The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development granted a €80 million loan to Tallinna Vesi (ASTV), the local water company co-owned by the city and operators International Water and United Utilities, to improve water and wastewater management services. The loan will help ASTV enter a new phase in its continuing development by improving the efficiency of its balance sheet following its privatisation in 2001. The loan will also help the company meet European Union environmental standards for water and wastewater services. This EBRD loan builds on a €22.5 million bank loan to Tallinna Vesi signed in 1994 to finance the rehabilitation of water and wastewater treatment plants, groundwater wells and wastewater networks. ASTV is one of the first utility companies to be privatised in the Baltic States.

Germany: Wedeco AG of Düsseldorf reports strong sales growth for the past nine months of the current financial year. On 12 November Wedeco Chairman of he Management Board, Mr. Werner Klink, announced group sales for the nine months of this year, €101 million — a 76.8% increase above the previous year's value of €57.1 million.

Wedeco closed a high number of repeat orders for ultraviolet and ozone systems in recent months for water and wastewater disinfection systems in Canada, Italy, Korea and the USA.

Palestinian Territories: Reports from the USAID-sponsored Emergency Environmental Health Project indicate that the quality of drinking water delivered from water tankers in the Nablus area is below World Health Organisation standards. The Ministry of Health reports problems with contaminated water in Balata and Askar camp due to the destruction of the water network and sewage pipelines in these localities, causing sewage flow into the water pipeline. The distribution of chlorine to clean the water is reportedly hampered by the closures and curfews making it severely difficult for Ministry staff to reach the affected localities without help from international organisations. The Ministry reported a shigellosis outbreak in that area last September, affecting more than 600 people.

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