A solid financing strategy and investment in technology are critical for the water sector as it faces new regulation

29/09/2023 –

Valencia. „Water must be treated as a value and no longer as a resource”, the technical conferences on 'Challenges of the new regulatory environment for cleaning and treatment’ started with this announcement, which brought together experts from all over Spain. Explore the challenges of the new regulatory environment in sanitation and hygiene.

In different sessions held at Castello on September 27 and 28, speakers and participants discussed the new restrictions and objectives imposed by the latest regulations and whether they are anticipating and solving the challenges they face. The changing situation calls for attention to both resource availability, increasingly being questioned, and the opportunities arising from it around energy and waste management.

Despite the adaptability of the sector and the constant search for solutions that allow efficient management of this scarce resource and with increasingly demanding standards in terms of quantity and quality, „current and future situations cannot be faced without good planning. Funding that allows us to take advantage of the challenges of the new environment” within the framework of a comprehensive country strategy. , Facsa’s Director of Sanitation and Sanitation explained, Luis Pacero. The person in charge stressed the „chasm between the dizzying speed of changes occurring in the world, with the economic consequences of the immediate impact on the sector (epidemics, wars, inflation, energy market volatility, etc.) and the speed of planning, national, regional and local policies that can provide solutions to these challenges of the new reality. and the promulgation and application of laws.”

With all this, the aim of the conference is to explain the new regulatory environment that is developing in hygiene and sanitation, focusing on biogas, sludge and water reuse, as well as the steps to be taken to build with water. , a better model of coexistence and contribution to the sustainability of cities. „The ultimate goal is to take advantage of the challenges of the new regulatory environment to bring the price of water closer to its true value,” Basiero said.

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Technology, a necessary ally

Technology plays a very relevant role in wastewater treatment and waste management or bioenergy generation and for this reason it occupies a large part of the conversation. In Spain, experts agree that current economic planning is not designed to encourage investment in technologies that help the water sector become more efficient and sustainable.

Example of Denmark presented at the conference Laura Bailon, Water Technology Advisor at the Embassy of a Nordic country, helped demonstrate that there are enough technological developments to meet current and future challenges in the national and international market, but there is a lack of planning and investment to access these technologies. As pointed out by the experts during the meeting, the requirements of the recently published regulations or are being developed. „Achieving technological development is not a concern,” they say, and investing in technology and innovation will prioritize compliance and guaranteeing new regulatory frameworks in certain areas, such as energy neutrality or overcoming scarcity situations. resources”.

New challenges in health control

The first session of the meeting analyzed the new situation of the hydraulic public domain. intervention of On that dayMenaFrom Emasesa, the new hydraulic public domain served as a starting point for learning the keys to controlling overflow in sanitation networks contemplated in regulation. Necessary integration with basin systems.

In this scenario, some solutions are shared. Facsa has provided solutions aimed at solids retention to mitigate the severe environmental impact and significant damage the problem of wipers creates in the sanitation network, an aspect regulated by the RDPH. For its part, Hydrens has shared its experience in simulation tools to study the behavior and operation of hydraulic structures.

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The debate in the room highlights the sector’s concern about the high cost of implementing the measures required by this new regulation, the importance of measurement in Spain, unlike other European countries such as Great Britain, which offers an irregular rainfall regime. Management, as well as the potential to reduce raw waste to reduce investment in treating some of the wastes in our wastewater such as wipers.

Urban Waste Water Treatment Ordinance New Draft

Enrique BagurizoFrom Emasesa, he opened the treatment module with a presentation that examined the most significant aspects of the draft new Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive currently being discussed in Europe.

The main objectives of this new regulation are to reduce the emitted pollution load, align with the challenges of the Green Deal and the Sustainable Development Goals, and improve governance.

However, the discussion highlights that the established implementation timelines are very tight and a solid funding strategy is essential to implement them.

WWTPs, clear source recovery systems

In the following three modules, the efficiency of waste water treatment plants (WWTP) resource recovery systems is demonstrated. One of the most recent works is the energy utilization of biogas generated in these WWTPs and biomethane production as a way to achieve the required energy neutrality. For this reason, biogas and biomethane occupy an appropriate place in these conferences, which allowed us to learn about the evolution of the regulatory framework and the applications of these two renewable gases. As seen in the cases presented, one of them, the BioVO project, both biogas and biomethane contribute to the development of a circular economy and a sustainable model, which is why it is necessary to optimize their deployment as energy. As experts point out, vectors to achieve climate neutrality.

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The management of sludge generated in urban treatment plants is important from an economic, environmental and operational point of view. However, the new regulation has clarified the framework Maria Luisa Ballesteros, Technical Adviser at the Deputy Directorate of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Ministry, said there are gaps in the explanations so that all the actors involved are clear about the rules of the game. Along these lines, Facsa shared its experience in composting as a result of the exploitation of the Todolella manure treatment plant, the Burgos biosolids composting plant or the Velarization waste treatment plant through different practical events.

In present scenario – water stress, torrential rain, increased population pressure etc. -, Reclaimed water is gaining more and more interest, and although its use has yet to be initiated in a large part of the national territory, some regions succeed in implementing it, as in Murcia, as demonstrated. Roman LopezEsamur, or from the Costa Brava, is another example of preserved good practices Sylvia LopezFrom the Costa Brava Girona Water Consortium.

Key challenges for the sector are identified in a new panorama that defines the responsibilities of the agents involved (operator, transport and end-users) through reuse, political will, user trust and projects. Investment and, in particular, finance.

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