sorted waste
over an area with 3.1 million
waste recovered
the amount of sorted waste
recuperated, going towards
a circular economy
thousand tons of CO2 avoided
with the plastic recycled
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 sewage and purification system of the City of Rimini.

The numerical modelling of the sewage and purification system already started in 2014, led to further optimization of the measures that had already been planned for the system of tanks that serves the southern area of Rimini and to 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 sewage 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.

The further optimisation of the Plan, with the design improvements that had to be made and the necessary authorisation steps required, meant that the achievement of the environmental objectives, initially planned for 2020, was postponed to 2023. It should be noted that by that year, the works necessary to reduce the city’s hydrological risks will also be completed: the extension of the timeframe for implementing the plan as initially envisaged is closely linked to the substantial improvement in the impact of the Plan on the city, which, for all the above reasons, will in fact benefit from a significant improvement in both hydrological and environmental performance.

The progress of the construction work does not lead us to expect any significant issues and the quantity goals we have set are in sight. All other interventions are underway and in the design phase.

The situation of the 14 measures is as follows:



at 31 December 2018

Expected/actual year of completion


1. Doubling of the Santa Giustina wastewater treatment plant



Purification process improvement

2. Conversion of the Rimini Marecchiese purification plant into a collection tank



Purification process improvement

3. Construction of the Dorsale Nord backbone, for drainage of the Bellaria purification plant into the S. Giustina purification plant



Purification process improvement

4. Completion of the separation of sewage networks in the northern area of Rimini

Design of second portion in progress

(first portion completed in 2018)


Conversion of 5 sewage drains discharging into the sea into rainwater drains (of which 3 already under the 1st portion)

5. Construction of the Dorsale Sud backbone

Under construction the third portion pressure unit, under design the third portion pumping stations

 (second portion completed in 2018)


Reduction in the number of openings of the Ausa and Colonnella I drains into the sea

6. Completion of the separation in the Roncasso and Pradella basins

Acquisition of permits in progress


Conversion of 2 sewage drains into the sea into rainwater drains

7. Construction of subsea pipeline and pumping station for the Ausa basin and reservoirs

Construction in progress


Reduction in the number of openings of the Ausa drains into the sea

8. Construction of hospital detention reservoir



Reduction in the number of openings of the Colonnella I drains into the sea

9. Construction of conduit between Fossa Colonnella I and Fossa Colonnella II; Vasca Colonnella II and Vasca Rodella and subsea discharge conduit

Design in progress


Reduction in the number of openings of the Colonnella I, Colonnella II and Rodella drains into the sea

10. Isola sewage decontamination



Optimization of the sewage system

11. Filling the Ausa beach stretch



Improvement of the usability of the area and of its environmental conditions

12. Sewage collector of Ausa backbone

Design in progress


Reduction of hydrological risks

13. Mavone spillway



Reduction of hydrological risks

14. Sewage pumping in via Santa Chiara

Construction work to start soon


Reduction of hydrological risks


The conclusion of 7 interventions has made it possible to obtain significant environmental benefits, with the reduction of the quantities of organic substances (COD/BOD) discharged into the sea during intense weather events.

The measures planned for 2019 – the completion of the Ausa reservoirs and underwater pipelines, together with the gradual separation of the networks in the northern area of the city – will lead to a considerable reduction in the pollution load discharged near the shore, benefiting the quality of the water along the coast. This will mean that the bathing bans laid down in the event of discharges being opened up to a large part of the city’s coastline, including both those areas where the separation of the sewage networks has been completed and the stretch of sea bordering the Fossa Ausa, will not apply. From this point of view, since 2017 3,084 metres of beach have been “freed” from bathing bans and in 2019 we expected to increase to 4,144 metres.

Moreover, as a further proof of the strong link between the Plan and the City of Rimini, clearly a part of the interventions under the Plan will be integrated into the broader coastal redevelopment project called Sea Park, so as to pursue synergies that can provide an overall improvement of the urban structure of the city.

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 Servola purification plant in Trieste: towards the full resolution of a 2014 Community infringement

The adaptation of the Servola wastewater purification plant in Trieste: the urban area has been declared compliant exiting from the 2014 EU infringement procedure. The new purification plant has been fully operational since 23 June 2018. All the functions of the plant (water line and sludge line) have become fully operational and the concentrations of pollutants at the outlet have been significantly reduced: phosphorus and nitrogen halved, COD reduced by 30%, BOD by more than 60% and suspended solids by 45%. About Euro 50 million were spent for the work. The recovery of the process water has also been planned to amount to about 180 m3/day: the purified water coming out of the plant is fed back into it for other industrial uses, such as, for example, washing the machines.

The first public openings of the new plant were organized, in view of the inclusion of Servola in the list of AcegasApsAmga plants that can be visited by the public (trade associations, private individuals, schools), becoming quite popular among participants, taking into account the great innovations that this project has developed in the field of plants and wastewater treatment plants.

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 do not appear 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 its trials in 2017 and 2018 to some areas of the provinces of Modena and Bologna in Emilia and of Forlì-Cesena in Romagna as a tool to supplement its scheduled leak detection work, identifying 204 hidden leaks in these three years. The innovative technology is based on the analysis of a scan 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 soil.

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.

In 2018, as part of the Circular Water initiatives and with a view to experimenting with innovative leak detection technologies applied to the aqueduct network, the “Water Hound” project was launched to experiment with in-line technologies, i.e. with internal inspection of the pipelines. The following technologies were then tested

  • “Smart Ball”: a metal ball containing several sensors, floating and wireless, capable of detecting leaks from inside the pipeline;
  • “Sahara”: a wired device pushed by the flow of water thanks to a parachute on its top, able to perform video analysis, detect leaks and air bubbles from inside the pipeline, and trace the exact position of the pipeline.

The experimentation was carried out on the area of Ravenna on two stretches of pipelines of different sizes and materials with the identification of some hidden leaks as well as data and information on the condition of the pipelines.