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Veolia launches an unprecedented program to boost wastewater reuse in France

  • Veolia launches an unprecedented program to boost wastewater reuse in France
    Compact wastewater recycling unit. Credit: Veolia
  • The initiative aims to develop wastewater reuse at all compatible sewage treatment plants operated by Veolia by installing compact wastewater recycling units.
  • This pioneering circular economy approach will help to scale-up wastewater reuse technology in France.
  • With around 100 plants targeted, the initiative could save around 3 million cubic meters of drinking water, equivalent to the average annual consumption of a city of 180,000 inhabitants.

About the entity

Veolia
Veolia Water Technologies specializes in water treatment solutions, providing the complete range of services required to design, deliver, maintain and upgrade sustainable water and wastewater treatment facilities for industrial and municipal clients.

As severe droughts become increasingly common and acute in all parts of the country, Veolia is committed to help protect water resources through the widespread adoption of industrial ecology solutions. The Group intends to implement wastewater reuse at all wastewater treatment plants it operates, where volumes used are sufficient, by installing compact wastewater recycling units.

Initially, recycled wastewater will replace the drinking water needed to operate and maintain wastewater treatment plants. In time, and subject to gaining necessary authorizations, its use could be extended to include a number of industrial and agricultural applications such as irrigation and roadcleaning, helping farmers, municipalities and industrial customers to reduce their use of drinking water.

The Group is working to identify eligible wastewater treatment plants for the installation of this system, and has already decided to manufacture 30 of these units. The overall potential could be as many as 100 sites, representing a saving of about 3 million cubic meters of drinking water, equivalent to the average annual consumption of a city with 180,000 inhabitants.

Developed by Veolia, the recycling unit is a compact version of a drinking water treatment plant. Equipped with a powerful two-stage filtration system, it produces high quality water from treated wastewater. Its reduced footprint meets the technical constraints of industrial sites, and makes installation and commissioning easier and faster.

Pilot units have already been installed in France, at wastewater treatment plants in the cities of Rodez and Narbonne, saving respectively 18,000 and 15,000 cubic meters of drinking water every year.

The technology of reusing treated wastewater has tremendous potential in France, especially in the context of resource scarcity and increasingly severe drought conditions across the country. At Veolia, we believe in this solution and we are already actively involved in pioneering initiatives such as the Jourdain project in the Vendée region, under the management of Vendée Eau. We have now decided to launch this innovative approach at wastewater treatment plants we operate, to uptake at scale of a highly promising solution.

Pierre Ribaute, CEO of Veolia’s water activities in France

Proven and reliable, treated wastewater technology has been deployed in Europe and around the world for a number of years. It has great potential in France, where the rate of wastewater reuse is currently below 1%. Thanks to its expertise in the field of wastewater reuse, Veolia is accelerating the roll out of experiments and pilots for both industrial and domestic uses, such as the Jourdain program, which will secure supplies of drinking water for the Vendée‘s inhabitants in the near future. 

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