Italian city upgrades wastewater treatment plant

Paul Boughton
Located on the Mediterranean Sea in a seasonal tourist region known for its pristine beaches, the area around Loano, Italy, had an increased need for wastewater treatment that led Servizi Ambientali SPA to expand its existing wastewater treatment plant.

The upgraded facility features GE’s advanced membrane bioreactor (MBR) technology and now is the second largest municipal MBR plant in Italy. The facility entered service in July 2012.

A number of individuals participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony today to honor the inauguration of the upgraded wastewater treatment plant located in the town of Borghetto Santo Spirito. Local officials Claudio Burlando, president of the Liguria region, and Angelo Vaccarezza, president of the province of Savona, as well as representatives from GE and Servizi Ambientali SPA attended the celebration.

This area is located in the Province of Savona, in the Italian region of Liguria, and is approximately 60 kilometres west of Genoa. The membrane plant was first constructed three years ago to initially treat 7 million litres per day (MLD) or 7,000m3/d. With the new expansion, using GE ZeeWeed* technology, the wastewater treatment plant quadruples the flow and serves approximately 140,000 residents in the towns of Borghetto S. Spirito, Loano, Toirano, Boissano, Balestrino and Ceriale. The expanded plant handles a maximum wastewater flow of about 35MLD or 35,000m3/d, roughly the amount of water required to fill 14 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

“Our wastewater treatment plant went from simple primary treatment to advanced biological processes with membranes allowing us to reach high-level effluent quality. It is located on the seacoast and discharges into a sensitive ecosystem in a tourist region,” said Giovanni Paganelli, chief executive officer, Servizi Ambientali SPA. “Our newly upgraded plant now results in the best effluent water quality ever achieved, enabling us to serve a larger population and at the same time, diverting the cleaned wastewater for non-potable reuse.”

Under the contract, GE supplied Servizi Ambientali SPA with MBR technology and equipment featuring ZeeWeed 500D reinforced, hollow-fiber membranes, which have been proven in more than two decades of wastewater treatment and water reuse. ZeeWeed 500 technology is an advanced filtration technology that separates particles, bacteria and viruses from water or wastewater. Nearly 1,000 plants worldwide use this technology to produce superior quality drinking water and to meet or exceed stringent wastewater treatment and water reuse standards.

The upgrade of the plant’s wastewater treatment processes with the GE MBR technology features four ZeeWeed 500D trains, 24 cassettes and 1,152 modules. This expands the plant’s treatment capacity and improves the region’s water quality. Prior to the upgrade, the region was facing issues with poor treatment of sewage resulting in negative consequences for the environment and residents.

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