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24/07/2020

Rimini: the underground tanks in Piazzale Kennedy have been completed and the area has now been entirely reopened to the public

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On 6 June 2011, a violent storm on Rimini severely damaged the city's sewage system. For a community that has been focused on summer tourism for decades, solving this problem and avoiding environmental impacts such as water pollution was an absolute priority. The sea, in fact, is not only a precious tool that drives the city's economy, but also and above all part of Romagna's identity. Now, residents and tourists no longer have to fear sudden downpours, because right in the centre of town, under a terrace overlooking the sea, there is a remarkable work of engineering that watches over Rimini's sewage system. It is part of the Seawater Protection Plan (PSBO – Piano di Salvaguardia della Balneazione), a kind of "gentle giant" that is the largest water reclamation project underway in Italy and one of the most important in Europe, also recognized by the UN for its role in protecting the marine environment.

 
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After that storm, we at Hera Group responded to the call for environmental protection and, thanks to an impressive effort undertaken jointly with the Municipality of Rimini, Romagna Acque and Amir, succeeded in proving that keeping the sea clean, guaranteeing its bathing conditions, was indeed a complex undertaking, but not an impossible one. The PSBO is like a great marathon divided into 14 "stages", including the elimination of 11 drains discharging into the sea. It is the culmination of an investment of €154 million, with 130 people working on the project every day, 38 companies involved, and 45 km of new sewage pipelines laid. It started in 2013 with measures that, in the following years, led, for example, to the restructuring of the sewerage system of Rimini Isola (in 2014), the doubling of the Santa Giustina treatment plant (in 2015) and the separation of the sewer networks in North Rimini, so as to close 4 of the 6 drains in that portion of the city.

The most important phase of the entire project began in 2016 in Piazzale Kennedy, the heart not only of coastal social life but also of the entire PSBO, with the construction of two tanks the size of 20 Olympic-size pools, located up to 40 meters below ground level, which involved excavating 70 thousand m3 of soil. One tank, with a capacity of 14 thousand m3, collects the water from the first flush of rain while the other, with a capacity of 25 thousand m3, temporarily holds and "stores" the rainwater, which can be sent to the purification plant or into the sea in the event of heavy rainfall. When average rainfall occurs, the tanks fill in 70 minutes, or 30 for particularly heavy downpours. A forced ventilation mechanism (with abatement using activated carbon filters) has solved the problem of bad odours. Lastly, to protect our beaches, over 21 thousand m3 of top-quality sand have been collected. With a view to a circular economy, they have already been used to replenish Rimini's coastline.

 
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Now that, after months of work, this fundamental component of the PSBO is complete, the two new waterfront terraces in Piazzale Kennedy cover the complex underground structure. The architecture of the terraces was designed by Studio Mijic of Rimini. The first terrace opened to the public in July 2019 and the other one opened today.

The Piazzale Kennedy project is the fruit of great work done not only jointly with the Municipality, Romagna Acque and Amir, but also with all the tour operators in the area and the residents, who have endured months of hardship in such a central area of the city that, for over 60 years, has been the holiday postcard of millions of tourists, both Italian and foreign. To date, more than 5 thousand m2of coastline have been "freed" from swimming bans, and the construction work is now 90% complete. By 2024, all 11 drains discharging into the sea will have been eliminated.

 

 

The most important phases of Rimini's Seawater Protection Plan

  • 2013: Start of work on the PSBO (Rimini Seawater Protection Plan)
  • 2014: Rimini Isola sewer decontamination
  • 2015: Doubling of the Santa Giustina treatment plant
  • 2016: Start-up of the Piazzale Kennedy construction site

    Other measures carried out in recent years:
    1. 
    Testing of the North backbone
    2. Construction of the hospital tank
    3. Reconversion of the Rimini Marecchiese treatment plant
    4. Construction of the first and second portions of the South backbone
    5. Burial of the Ausa canal
    6. Separation of the sewerage networks in North Rimini

  • July 2019: Completion of the first waterfront terrace in Piazzale Kennedy
  • July 2020: Completion of the second waterfront terrace and total reopening of Piazzale Kennedy
 
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