Spanish City upgrades wastewater treatment plant with GE MBR technology

The city of Ávila, Spain, will install GE's ZeeWeed 500D ultrafiltration membrane bioreactor technology to double the amount of water treated at its existing wastewater treatment plant. The city chose to upgrade the facility with MBR technology to increase the capacity and to comply with new regulations for nutrient removal while keeping the same footprint and reusing most of the existing infrastructure.

For the city of Ávila to meet the new regulations for nutrients in the existing plant, it would have had to double the size of the plant including purchasing new land. Instead, the city chose to implement GE's MBR technology, which allowed it to improve the effluent quality without increasing the footprint. GE's ZeeWeed membranes treat the same amount of water while removing all total suspended solids and complying with all other requirements. Since the extension of the current footprint was not necessary, economic advantages were gained as most of the existing infrastructure can be reused.

The original wastewater treatment plant was constructed in 1991 to service 190,000 inhabitants with a 30 million litre per day (MLD) average daily flow. However, due to new regulations, the discharge area of the Cogotas water reservoir was classified as a 'sensitive area', meaning that the new parameters are more restricted on effluent quality and require reductions in nitrogen and phosphorus.

The upgrade of the plant's wastewater treatment processes with the GE MBR technology features four ZeeWeed 500D trains and 32 cassettes. A fifth train is designed for the future expansion. Altogether, this will expand the plant's treatment capacity to 37 MLD.

Ávila is located in the autonomous community of Castilla and León, and is the capital of the Province of Ávila. It has a large number of Romanesque and Gothic churches and is referred to as the City of Stones and Saints. Although the city receives a good proportion of rain in autumn and winter, summers are typically dry, and the effluent of the wastewater treatment plant is an important additional resource to maintain the flows in the river.

GE's ZeeWeed technology was selected for the upgrade of this plant by the Spanish Consortium Company as ZeeWeed can achieve the technical specifications required on the public tender by Somacyl. Somacyl was awarded the project by UTE EDAR Avila (a consortium formed by Aqualia and Volconsa).

Xylem Water Solutions and GE jointly developed the project and assisted on the technical specifications. The facility is expected to begin commercial operation in summer 2013, when it will be the second largest ZeeWeed MBR plant in operation in Spain.

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