separate waste collection
in an area with 3.3 million
of recovered waste
the share of separate waste
collected, in favour of a circular
tons of recycled plastic
produced by Aliplast

Sustainable management of water resources

The Rimini Seawater Protection Plan continues

The Seawater Protection Plan aims to eliminate swimming bans and reduce the pollution measured in terms of COD by 90% by 2020, through structural measures on the sewerage – treatment system of the City of Rimini.

The numerical modelling of the sewerage – treatment system already started in 2014, and led to further optimization of the measures already planned for the system of tanks that serves the southern area of Rimini and the identification of 3 additional measures. The optimization of the tanks, introducing a different way to manage rainwater, together with additional measures that involve the construction of the works called the Ausa backbone sewage collector, Mavone spillway and the sewerage pumping system in via Santa Chiara are able to determine synergies that significantly reduce the risk of flooding in most of the built-up area where this problem often occurs and thus expand the objectives of the plan to include a mitigation of hydrological risks. In this regard, it should be noted that the preliminary investigation is also under-way for these additional works, aimed at obtaining further public funding in the so-called “Italia Sicura” sector.

The Plan is currently essentially made up of the 10 measures originally planned, plus the filling of the Ausa Canal, added in 2015, and the additional measures mentioned above, for a total of 14 measures amounting to over Euro 160 million.

At the same time, the Plan’s optimization process is making progress; aimed at identifying, through numerical modelling of the system, especially in terms of cost/benefit ratio, any additional measures capable of further improving the city’s sewerage – treatment system overall, in terms of both further structural improvements and refinement of management methods.

The situation of the 14 measures is as follows:

Measure Progress
at 31 December 2016
Expected/actual year of completion Motivation/benefits
1. Doubling of the Santa Giustina waste-water treatment plant Completed 2016 Treatment process improvement
2. Conversion of the Rimini Marecchiese treatment plant into a collection tank Construction in progress (first portion completed) 2018 Treatment process improvement
3. Construction of the Dorsale Nord backbone, for drainage of the Bellaria waste-water treatment plant into the S. Giustina WWTP Completed 2016 Treatment process improvement
4. Completion of the separation of sewer networks in the northern area of Rimini Construction of first portion, second lot in progress
Design of second lot in progress (first portion, second lot concluded)
2021 Conversion of 5 sewer drains into the sea into rainwater drains (including 2 in 2016)
5. Construction of the Dorsale Sud backbone Construction in progress of second portion Design of third lot in progress (first portion completed) 2020 Reduction in the number of openings of the Ausa and Colonnella drains into the sea
6. Completion of the separation in the Roncasso and Pradella basins Design in progress 2021 Conversion of 2 sewer drains into the sea into 2 rainwater drains
7. Construction of subsea pipeline and pumping station for the Ausa basin and reservoirs Construction of first portion in progress Second portion to be designed 2020 Reduction in the number of openings of the Ausa drains into the sea
8. Construction of hospital detention reservoir Completed 2016 Reduction in the number of openings of the Colonnella I drains into the sea
9. Construction of connecting conduit between Fossa Colonnella I and Fossa Colonella II; Vasca Colonella II and Vasca Rodella and subsea discharge conduit Design in progress 2022 Reduction in the number of openings of the Colonnella I, Colonnella II and Rodella drains into the sea
10. Isola sewer decontamination Completed 2014 Optimization of the sewer system
11. Filling the Ausa beach stretch Completed 2016 Improvement of the usability of the area and of its environmental conditions
12. Sewage collector of Ausa backbone Design in progress 2021 Reduction of hydrological risks
13. Mavone spillway Construction in progress 2018 Reduction of hydrological risks
14. Sewer pumping in via Santa Chiara Design in progress 2019 Reduction of hydrological risks

The completion of the works described above have made it possible to enjoy the first significant environmental benefits, reducing the amounts of COD/BOD disposed of at sea.

The progress of the construction work does not lead us to expect any significant issues and makes us expect to achieve our quality objectives, while the date of completion of the measures has not been significantly postponed, also due to the advisability of revising the plan mentioned above.

Rimini Seawater Protection Plan was included among the best practices in the SDG Industry Matrix report published by the Global Compact and KPMG in 2017, which reports on business opportunities linked to the objectives of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Upgrade work at Trieste’s Servola water treatment plant: approaching full resolution of the 2014 EC infringement proceedings

The construction site for the new Servola (TS) treatment plant has reached its final stages. In fact, the construction of the buildings and the various treatment sections has finished, and the service tunnel, where most of the equipment and machinery serving the plant is housed and connected has been completed. During the year all the monitoring and remote control systems for the entire treatment chain have been wired, tested and commissioned, and the clean tests, using drinking water instead of wastewater, were successful. The works also concerned the existing plant with a series of changes to the pre-treatment works and the water connections, and the road link between the two plants were also built. Over 27,000 man-hours were worked and on several days during the year, over one hundred people worked at the same time on the construction site. This required a considerable organizational and coordination effort (over 120 meetings) to avoid possible risk conditions for the workers. The office building was also completed and interior design operations were started to make it usable from the first quarter of 2018. In terms of production, the yard reached Euro 29 million, monitored by Worksite Management, which organised 75 meetings over the 19 months the yard was active.

Coordination efforts were also intense with local authorities and the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia to solve all the bureaucratic/administrative problems that arose during the work. The site was opened to the public on several days to bring the population and institutions closer together and illustrate the considerable effort made by the company, and the media also positively reported on the work carried out at Servola.

Wastewater treatment started at the new plant in March 2018.

Electronic noses to check the treatment plants

During 2017, as planned, a study was carried out on the diffusion and characterization of odours at the Santa Giustina treatment plant in Rimini.

The purpose of the project we carried out in Cesenatico in 2016 was to identify and locate the source of the odour that inhabitants smelled in the areas around the plant and that seemed to be entirely attributed to the plant, but, in reality, the results of the detailed scientific analysis carried out in coordination with the Water Department, the Hera Laboratories and an external specialized supplier, did not find this.

The electronic noses were “digitally trained” to identify, recognize and catalogue the odours coming from the various parts of the treatment plant, in order to compare these odours with those smelled in the area being monitored, during July and August 2017.

Ultimately, the origin of the smell perceived by the residents of Rimini Santa Giustina is marginally attributable to the plant (around 2.7%). The “noses” attributed 1.5% of the odour to other unknown sources (i.e. air containing molecules that can be classified as odours but that are not attributable to the city’s sewer and water treatment system), while the remaining 95.8% was classified as “neutral air” and therefore not “contaminated” by odours.

All this represented a gratifying result in relation to the plant engineering and management changes, implemented during the winter and as the summer season approaches, together with passive defense works (planting a dense tree containment perimeter) to reduce the formation of unpleasant odours during maximum operation of the plant in the summer.

Satellite used to search for water network leaks

There is an innovative solution, based on satellite technology, to fight hidden leaks in the water networks, the leaks that are not visible as visible water leaks and are often present in distribution networks. In 2016 Hera was the first company in Italy to have used this technology, developed in collaboration with the Israeli company Utilis as part of a pilot project in Ferrara, and extended it in 2017 to some areas near Bologna and to Forlì-Cesena in Romagna as a tool to supplement its planned leak research activities, identifying 85 hidden leaks.

The innovative technology is based on the analysis of the subsoil, using an algorithm. The images are acquired by the Alos-2 satellite, managed by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), that orbits about 650 kilometres above ground, and uses electromagnetic signals with a wavelength capable of penetrating the ground.

Distorted information is filtered out of the data obtained by the scan and then cross-referenced with the network diagram, to obtain a map that shows the network points where leaks are present.

The actual search for leaks on the spot is then carried out using traditional methods, but thanks to the precision of the new system, it covers much smaller areas.

With the Acquologo, the entire water service is smartphone-accessible

The Acquologo (The Waterologist), released in July 2016, is a free application on the local water service for residents who live in the areas served by Hera. It provides many useful features for users, from self-meter reading to checking data on the quality of the water in their municipality, and includes alerts for water network interruptions for ordinary maintenance work and reporting breakage or leakage of water on public land.

In 2017, the application was downloaded 11,159 times for a total of 44,223 accesses. Residents with Hera bills can use the Acquologo to report their actual water consumption by easily reporting their meter reading and in 2017 5,420 readings were sent in using this system.

Hera manages the water service, providing good drinking water for its customers, in compliance with regulatory requirements and carefully monitors the entire drinking water supply chain. To confirm this, users can use, the Acquologo to consult the main quality data (average values) of the water supplied for each of the municipalities served by the multiutility, comparing them with the regulatory limits. In addition to this function, the application also shows the savings generated by the drinking tap water instead of bottled water. And to contact experts with questions and inquiries about the local water service or the read answers to frequently asked questions on the subject, see the “Experts answer” section. In 2017 there were 58,823 accesses to the Aquologist pages on quality, 8370 views of specific qualitative data and 23 requests for further information through the “Expert answers” service.

Experimentally, in Bologna, the app can also be used to report major water leaks due to breakage of pipes under the road surface. After taking a picture and adding a brief text, users can send the report directly to Hera’s Emergency Service. By using geolocation, the system can rapidly detect the location of the report and provide it to the service personnel who will go to the site. During 2017, 190 reports were made using the app (photographic reports and calls to the toll-free number).