Montpellier, France awards €165 million contract to Veolia Group

Nov. 10, 2022
The €165 million, 9-year contract will upgrade the Maera wastewater treatment plant’s capacity from 4.7 MGD to 6.95 MGD, enable it to produce twice as much energy as it will consume, and enable reuse of the treated water for agriculture.

Veolia has announced that the Metropolis of Montpellier, France, has awarded it a €165 million ($166.9 million USD), 9-year contract to extend, upgrade, and operate the area’s Maera wastewater treatment plant.

The contract was awarded to Veolia’s subsidiaries, OTV and Veolia Eau France. The project will, through a sustainable development approach, enable the plant to produce twice as much energy as it needs and to distribute reusable water following treatment.

The extension works will gradually increase the plant’s treatment capacity from 4.7 million gallons daily (MGD) to 6.95 MGD, covering the needs of 19 municipalities. An initial capacity increase of 500,000 MGD will be reached by the end of 2023 in order to meet the immediate urban development challenges of the Metropolis.

The Veolia Group will use a panel of its technologies to improve the quality of treatment at the plant, enable the production of energy, and allow for reuse of the treated wastewater. The contract will also see Veolia continue to operate the site throughout the duration of the works and for the following four years — totaling nine years of operation.  

This project supports the orientations of the Plan Climat-Air-Énergie Territorial (Territorial Climate-Air-Energy Plan) of the Montpellier Metropolis by reducing the carbon footprint of the wastewater treatment plant, producing renewable energies and preserving water resources.

Once the work is completed, the Maera wastewater treatment plant will be a sober unit, geared toward the production of renewable energies (biomethane, heat, and electricity) which will make it possible to cover 205 percent of its energy consumption by 2031. The plant will also reduce its net CO2 emissions by more than half thanks to the optimization of its energy consumption and the maximization of by-product energy recovery. The excess energy produced will be used, among other things, to supply gas to 9,000 homes and heat to more than 7,500 households.

The plant's compact design also frees up 2,500 m2 of space to implement large-scale wastewater reuse systems, rendering possible a recovery of 70,000 m3/day. This water will cover the station's internal industrial uses and will also be reused, among other things, for agricultural needs.

A rooftop vegetable garden and greenhouses on the ground will be created and watered by treated water from the station, in addition to testing other types of uses such as fire control, cleaning of streets, public spaces and networks, and watering green spaces, vines, or any other crops close to the site. The agroecological pilot is operated by DV2E.

“The extension of the treatment capacity combined with the proposed improvements will allow us to face the future more serenely and to offer a structure that is better integrated with an overall strategy for limiting noise (reinforcement of acoustic devices) and odors (coverage of all structures, enhanced deodorization),” says René Revol, president of the Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole Water Authority and vice president in charge of water and sanitation.

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