LIFE PHOENIX - Águas de Portugal Group joins a European project pioneering solutions for refining the treatment of wastewaters for their reutilisation in agricultural irrigation

The LIFE PHOENIX project aims to develop and test modular, flexible and efficient solutions for the sustainable and safe reutilisation of household wastewaters subject to secondary treatment in accordance with the new European standards.

This involves the development of two different solutions respectively adapted to small-scale and large-scale wastewater treatment plants, which are to undergo testing at a set of five wastewater plants in Spain and Portugal.

The project, which launched on 1 October, is being undertaken by a European consortium coordinated by Aqualia and that also includes AdP - Águas de Portugal Serviços Ambientais, the Dutch company MicroLAN, CETIM – the Technological Centre of Multi-Sector Research of Spain, the company Newland EnTech, the University of Almeria, the Provincial Council of Almeria and the Hydrographic Confederation of Guadalquivir. Lasting for a duration of 42 months, the global budget totals around 3.4 million euros, with 55% financing provided by the European Commission through the LIFE Program.

Given the increasingly widespread scenario of hydric stress, deepened in southern European countries due to the impact of climate change, the reutilisation of water emerges as a need to deal with the growing challenges faced by the European Union (EU) in relation to its water policy and agricultural productivity. The utilisation of this resource in the agricultural sector, the largest water consumer in the EU, displays clear advantages as this provides an alternative source of water constantly available over the long term and that enables the alleviation of pressures on scarce water resources in many areas, especially during the dry periods of the year.

Through LIFE PHOENIX, the consortium seeks ways to convert wastewaters into a resource for reutilisation in agricultural irrigation in a safe and efficient fashion. Hence, its name evokes the mythical "phoenix" that is reborn from the ashes in the same way that wastewaters shall in the future gain a "new life", no longer discarded as mere waste but rather a resource with high aggregated value (which may serve as water for reutilisation, bio-fuels, bio-fertilisers, etcetera).

The project starts out at two wastewater treatment plants in Almeria (El Bobar and El Toyo), operated by Aqualia, the Municipalised Water Services concession holder for this Spanish city. The other test pilot schemes are located in Huelva and Toledo, in Spain, and in Abrantes, at the Fonte Quente Plant in Portugal, also operated by Aqualia.

The collaboration of the AdP – Águas de Portugal Group in the project foresees participation in developing the viability study for applying these solutions at two Group wastewater plants and disseminating the project throughout Portugal.

07 of October of 2020