Land reuse in Group projects and re-use of excavated earth
In the 2016-2017 period, the network and plant works we completed used over 100,000 m2 of land, 75% of which was already occupied by existing infrastructure.
The Integrated Water Service, which has recovered almost 70,000 m2 of land, represents the most significant contribution, in relation to the number of interventions carried out in the period under examination.
From the preliminary analyses to the design of works, the Hera Group identifies technical solutions aimed at reusing areas that have already been urbanized and/or preserving the natural context of the land subject to intervention, in line with the objectives of the UN Agenda for 2030.
The following are among the main design criteria:
- in the network area: extensions carried out using existing roads and/or urban fabric, improvement of the network layout by upgrading or reclaiming of existing pipelines, laying of new pipelines adjacent to existing services;
- in the plant area: reuse of existing/occupied areas and infrastructures; disposal of infrastructure and restoration/return of the area at the end of its life cycle, use of technological solutions to reduce the overall size of the infrastructure.
Among the most important measures, it is worth mentioning the demolition of the roof tanks at the service of the water networks, recovering about 3,900 m2 and the upgrade of the Cesenatico treatment plant, which has enabled increase in treatment capacity and improvement of conditions for 2,500 m2.
Another important measure is the renovation of the Rimini coastline, which is discussed more specifically in the case studies in this chapter.
In the 2018-2021 period we expect to re-use approximately 725,000 m2 of land for infrastructure, i.e. 2/3 of the total land involved in new projects.
As regards the protection and conservation of habitats and wild species, the EU issued two directives, Directive 409/79, adopted in April 1979, regarding the conservation of wild birds (the “Birds Directive”) and Council Directive 43/92, adopted in May 1992, regarding the conservation of natural habitats and wild flora and fauna (“Habitats Directive”). These directives created a consistent ecological network of protected areas in the European Union, known as Natura 2000.
In the province of Ferrara, the two largest water collection plants, Pontelagoscuro and Stellata, on the Po river, are located within the Special Protection Area called “Fiume Po da Stellata a Mesola e Cavo Napoleonico”. In the Province of Ravenna, the Marina di Ravenna treatment plant is located within the EU Conservation Area “Piallassa Piombone” and discharges the treated wastewater into the “Piallassa Baiona” special protection area.
At these two plants, in order to protect biodiversity, Hera Group carries out acute toxicity tests on the treatment plants. In the 2005-2017 period, these tests showed that the water disposed of had no toxicity.