The North American Development Bank (NADB) and Aguas de Reúso y Energía Renovable, S.A. de C.V., (ARERSA) signed a loan agreement for up to $233.4 million pesos (equivalent to about US$11.2 million), to cover part of the financing for the rehabilitation and upgrade of the North and South Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTP) in Chihuahua, Chihuahua.
ARERSA is the special-purpose company created to carry out the project by the consortium formed by La Peninsular Compañía Constructora, S.A. de C.V., Suez Medio Ambiente México, S.A. de C.V., Suez International, S.A.S., and Grupo Acuanovus, S.A. de C.V., which was awarded an 11-year build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract by the municipal water utility, Junta Municipal de Agua y Saneamiento de Chihuahua (JMAS).
The project will improve the effluent quality and treatment for up to 54.2 million gallons a day (mgd) in compliance with federal standards. Part of the effluent will be discharged to an existing reclaimed water distribution system for irrigation and industrial purposes.
NADB loan proceeds will also be used to finance a cogeneration plant with up to 1.25 megawatts of capacity at the South WWTP. The cogeneration plant will capture the biogas from the activated sludge produced in the treatment process of both plants to generate an estimated 8.52 gigawatt-hours a year of electricity.
“We are pleased to support this much-needed project so that JMAS may continue providing quality service in benefit of the residents of Chihuahua and the environment," stated NADB Managing Director Calixto Mateos-Hanel. “We applaud the installation of a cogeneration plant, which will allow the utility to supply part of its energy needs and thus substantially reduce its operating costs.”
Upon completion of the works to rehabilitate and upgrade both plants, the quality of the effluent will be more consistent and reliable, supporting greater demand for treated water for its reuse. Additionally, replacing the disinfection systems in both plants will eliminate the risk associated with handling chlorine gas. Moreover, by using the cogeneration plant, the utility expects to supply close to 71% of the electricity required to operate the South WWTP, which will offset energy consumed from the public grid and thus help prevent the emission of 9,583 metric tons/year of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other green emission gases.