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ACCIONA Agua inaugurates the Faro-Olhão wastewater treatment plant, the first on the Iberian Peninsula planned with Nereda® technology


This technology will reduce the plant’s carbon footprint by 50% and is expected to generate energy savings of between 20% and 30% 


ACCIONA Agua has inaugurated the Faro-Olhão wastewater treatment plant in the Algarve region of Portugal. It is the first plant on the Iberian Peninsula designed with Nereda® technology, bringing improved biological treatments and greater energy efficiency.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by Portugal’s Minister of the Environment and Energy Transition, João Pedro Matos Fernandes; the Secretary of State of the Environment, Carlos Martins; the Chairmen of the Águas de Portugal group and Águas do Algarve, João Nuno Mendes and Joaquim Peres, respectively, and Emanuel Correia, Country Manager for ACCIONA Agua in Portugal, among others.
The contract to construct and commission the Faro-Olhão wastewater treatment plant was worth €13.9 million. It will enable 28,149 m3/day of water to be treated, with a peak flow of 3,942 m³/hour, and to supply an equivalent population of 113,200 inhabitants.

The treatment plant is located one kilometre west of Olhão, in an area of great natural beauty, and its construction has enabled part of the region and the surrounding landscape to be regenerated.

NEREDA® Technology

The plant will use an advanced biological, filtration and disinfection treatment process thanks to Nereda® technology, employing an innovative method for treating wastewater that can be implemented in both new and existing plants. In the case of the latter, it can increase treatment capacity and improve performance and is an ideal solution for older facilities in which less efficient processes mean higher energy consumption.
This new technology has reduced the Faro-Olhão plant’s carbon footprint by 50%, while also generating expected savings of between 20% and 30% of the energy used by the treatment process. The plant will incorporate solar panels with a total installed capacity of 50 kW, which will generate enough energy to run its auxiliary services.

In November 2015, ACCIONA Agua signed an agreement with the international project management and engineering consultancy, Royal HaskoningDHV, to exclusively supply Nereda® wastewater treatment technology in Spain and Portugal.

This technology represents a new concept in wastewater treatment. Compared to traditional processes that use activated sludge (with flocculation), Nereda® is based on the growth of granular biomass (granular sludge), enabling a single granule to simultaneously remove both carbonaceous material and nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus).

Major presence in Portugal

The inauguration of this wastewater treatment plant has further consolidated ACCIONA Agua’s presence in Portugal, where it already has 25 wastewater treatment plants and five drinking water plants serving a total of 2.3 million people, equivalent to 25% of Portugal’s total population.

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