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  • Dear Readers!

    Once again the world’s largest trade fair for the water, sewage, waste and raw materials sectors has opened its gates in Munich. As in previous years, hundreds of thousands of specialists from all around the globe are expected to attend the exhibition centre in the capital city of Bavaria this year. And once again, focus will be put on modern environmental technologies which aim to increase global recycling rates and make our planet more sustainable – and rightly so. We at REMONDIS love recycling and are doing everything that is economically viable and technologically possible to promote sustainability. However, no matter what recycling efforts are made, there is still that undeniable truth which people often prefer to ignore: at the end, there are always some materials left over. Each time residual and hazardous waste is thermally treated, it generates slag; each time a road is dug up or a building demolished, it produces mineral waste and construction waste. And after all possible substances have been sent for materials or thermal recycling, the question remains ‘what to do with the residue that cannot be recycled?’ The subject of sending waste to landfill appeared to have been taken care of in Germany when the ‘TaSi’ (Technical Directive on the Recycling, Treatment and Disposal of Municipal Waste) came into force in 2005. We are, therefore, now rubbing our eyes in disbelief as it becomes clear that a lack of landfill space – a problem believed to be something of the distant past – is, slowly but surely, threatening to catch up with us again. The City of Kaiserslautern has understood what is happening and has entered into a public private partnership with REMONDIS’ subsidiary, REMEX, to build a new landfill that will be able to accept 400,000 tonnes of mineral waste each year. This, too, is something that must be done for the future of the country.

    Some years ago, Prof. Klaus Töpfer, former Federal Minister of the Environment, introduced the so-called ‘dual system’ to take the pressure off household waste landfills and to push forward the country’s recycling activities. The recycling bin (known as the yellow bin in Germany because of its yellow lid) enabled recyclable and residual waste to be collected separately from households and proved to be a success for many years. Indeed, this concept was exported to many other countries. This system is now in danger of collapsing as a result of its own loopholes. Projected volumes of correctly licensed sales packaging will fall this year to just 812,000 tonnes, a 26 percent drop compared to last year, whilst the amount of waste sales packaging actually collected will remain the same at around 2.2 million tonnes. The honest system operators are having to bear this financial ‘gap’ and no-one is able to say how long it can survive. In this issue of REMONDIS aktuell, we look more closely at the question of whether the recycling bin has a future or whether it has finally reached the end of the line.

    No matter what the future brings, waste and raw materials will still have to be transported from A to B. Looking at the growing shortage of qualified truck drivers in Germany, however, this may soon be more easily said than done. Fewer and fewer young people are choosing to join this profession which is so important for road logistics. REMONDIS has taken action to counteract this trend and is offering more apprenticeship jobs in this area. The job of a truck driver is so much better than its image. The apprenticeship course offers much more than simply learning to drive a truck – it also teaches all about vehicle technology, infrastructure, logistics and mobility.

    As always, I hope you enjoy reading this edition of REMONDIS aktuell.

    Ludger Rethmann 

Heading into the future with pioneering projects

  • Making the most of the opportunities for growth in Spain – this was the goal of REMONDIS Aqua International GmbH when it acquired the local water management specialists OMS-Sacede a good four years ago. Since then, the company has been pushing forward its expansion strategy on the Iberian peninsular with its pioneering projects to treat wastewater and generate energy.

A wide range of activities

Founded in 1979, OMS-Sacede is a company based in Barcelona with subsidiaries and associated businesses across the country. This REMONDIS subsidiary offers a range of services from treating wastewater and sewage sludge all the way through to generating efficient energy. Electricity, for example, is produced during the sewage sludge drying process via combined heat and power plants and biogas is recovered from the wastewater. Geographically, it primarily operates in the well-structured regions of Aragón, Catalonia and Valencia. Over the last few years, OMS has been able to considerably expand its circle of municipal and industrial customers – despite the difficult economic climate following the financial crisis.




Public sector partners

REMONDIS Aqua’s Spanish company recently succeeded in winning a public tender to operate and maintain the sewage treatment plant in Miranda de Ebro, a city situated in the northern province of Burgos. The facility provides water management services for over 50,000 local inhabitants.

Three local authorities from Catalonia have also extended their contracts with OMS. The collaboration with the City of Banyoles focuses on operating the municipal sewage treatment plant for which OMS has been responsible since 1996. In contrast, the company is in charge of the sewage sludge drying facilities in both Montornés and Terri. 

Thanks to their many years of experience and their comprehensive specialist knowledge, REMONDIS Aqua and OMS were also called in to help implement an extensive water processing project on the Llobregat, the second-longest river in the region. OMS has already been put in charge of managing operations at nine facilities as part of this project. Other facilities are currently being built and these will also be managed by the REMONDIS Group’s Spanish experts once they have been completed.

Strong services for the industrial sector

One of OMS’ most important industrial projects currently involves a wastewater treatment facility in Casasbuenas, a district approx. 65 kilometres from Madrid. Further north east in Tèrmens, the company is in the process of extending an industrial wastewater treatment plant, which it had originally planned and built back in 1998. The primary aim here is to reduce the nitrogen content of the water. By using a membrane bioreactor, the amount of nitrogen will be reduced from its current 2,000 to just 20 milligrams per litre – i.e. one hundredth of its present volume.

In the north west of Spain, OMS is implementing an industrial project in the Galician district of Pontesampaio to plan and develop a new wastewater treatment facility. Plans are for the water to be discharged into the River Ulló which flows into an extremely ecologically sensitive region: the bay of Ria de Vigo on the Atlantic. The requirements regarding the mechanical and biological treatment processes are, therefore, correspondingly high.

The company has already completed a project to extend and commission a biological treatment facility for industrial wastewater in San Martin y Mudrián, a district in the north Spanish region of Castilla-Leon. The project was brought to a successful conclusion last year. Today, the plant is playing an important role in helping to protect the environment. Based on the level of efficiency it has achieved, it can feed around 290 cubic metres of treated water into the River Pirón every day.

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