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  • Dear Readers!

    Whilst the energy transition “experiment” continues unabated in Germany and the large energy providers find themselves in a difficult situation as they try to find out exactly what their main business now is, REMONDIS – as a consumer – has been taking action and has come up with some innovative solutions to tackle the energy problem. We have, for example, succeeded in considerably reducing energy consumption at our dismantling centre for waste electrical and electronic equipment at the Lippe Plant in Lünen by introducing a new energy management system. Whereas, in the past, it had only been possible to see how much energy the plant was consuming as a whole, a new software system – developed by the company itself – now enables the ­consumption of each individual piece of equipment and each individual light to be recorded. One of the responses to the results generated by this new system was to exchange all the lights in the plant with state-of-the-art LEDs. This has led to more light with fewer carbon emissions and lower costs and this idea is catching on across the whole of the group. This is what we at REMONDIS believe the energy transition to be.

    REMONDIS continues to enjoy healthy growth and not only in its home region of North Rhine-Westphalia. Our family-owned company has been expanding in the countries which are on its list of “core regions”. These include, for example, neighbouring countries such as Poland to the east and the Netherlands to the west. The Dutch recycling firm, van ­Gansewinkel, recently sold its Polish operations to ­REMONDIS. Furthermore, REMONDIS acquired the business locations and activities of the Becker Group in the south of Poland. Thanks to these latest transactions, we have succeeded in expanding our range of services for our Polish customers and strengthening our position on the Polish market – one of the company’s so-called core markets. At the time of going to press, we also received the good news that our Dutch subsidiary has taken over the Dusseldorp Group. This will considerably grow REMONDIS Nederland’s operations in the Dutch recycling sector.

    According to the Federal Office for National Statistics, the total debt of the local and district authorities in Germany lay at around 140 billion euros at the end of 2014 – and this figure is likely to rise. Some councils, however, are of the opinion that they can solve this problem by remunicipalising services that, they believe, fall into the category of “vital public services”. To be able to do this though they must spend large sums of money on setting up the necessary infrastructure – an infrastructure that private sector firms already have in place and which they could offer far more cost-effectively. We know from experience that the best solution is to work together as partners, as can be seen in the City of Freiburg in the Breisgau region. The PPP model continues to be a practicable solution that unites the two worlds in the best possible way and brings the most benefits for the regional economy and the local inhabitants.

    The arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees in Germany to escape from their war-torn homelands will mean greater challenges as well as some great opportunities for our ­country and local authorities. Let us work together in a spirit of optimism and confidence to create a better future for ­everyone living in our country. REMONDIS is there as always to help and advise its municipal partners. 

    Yours

    Ludger Rethmann

Building work began back in April

The City of Cottbus in the German state of Brandenburg is preparing itself for the future: at the beginning of April, work began on a new central sewer right in the heart of the city. This is one of the final stages of the ­project to renovate the city’s main sewer system which is over 115 years old and transports both rainwater and the wastewater generated by the approx. 80,000 city residents.

As little disruption as possible for local residents and road users

“It is a highly complex project – and is right in the heart of the city,” commented Marten Eger, managing director responsible for technology at LWG Lausitzer Wasser GmbH & Co. KG. REMONDIS Aqua’s Cottbus PPP company is financing and managing the work. They have drawn up a complex concept to realise this project, which aims to minimise disruption both for the local residents and for the public transport services.

Similar to tunnel construction work

For the most part, this sophisticated work involves so-called trenchless technology. Similar to tunnel construction work, a boring head tunnels its way through the earth and places the sewer pipes in the ground – with a pressure of up to 300 tonnes. Thanks to this method, only a few shafts need to be dug, namely at the beginning and at the end. At the same time there is no need to dig 7-metre trenches.

The new sewer pipes have been constructed so they can be laid using this special system. They have an outer diameter of 1.72 metres and walls around 7 centimetres thick to be able to withstand the pressure of this process. One of the two starting shafts had to be lined with underwater concrete to prevent groundwater seeping in. The indentations in the steel girders were first cleaned by industrial divers before the work began to ensure that the underwater concrete was flush.

Precision work is called for when laying the sewer – each pipe must be placed in the correct position at the exact right time.

Reacting flexibly to unexpected events

  • The construction work is due to have been completed by the end of December 2015 – an ambitious schedule as such a heavily built up area that has been used for centuries is bound to throw up a few surprises. Quick and flexible reactions have already been called for to adjust the plan to cope with some unexpected situations. The boring and excavation work has, for example, revealed a number of archaeological findings, including pottery fragments and coins as well as the foundations of an old city gateway.

    The section of the main sewer system that is being renovated in Cottbus lies 7 metres below the ground

Detailed information for the local residents

    The newly laid pipes are truly impressive with an outer diameter of 1.72 metres

  • As the people living in the City of Cottbus are very interested in this construction project, a number of recesses with windows have been built into the 800-metre fence running along the site. They can use these to observe the renovation work and follow the progress being made. LWG has also hung some banners along the fence explaining the different stages of the project. They also held an open day in August and showed those interested around the site and answered any questions the visitors had about the work.

Fence adorned with artwork

“We have added children’s drawings to the fence to make it more attractive,” explained Marten Eger. The pictures were submitted as part of a competition initiated by LWG and all have to do with the subject of water. More than 120 drawings were handed in to the company.

Creating the future together

LWG Lausitzer Wasser GmbH & Co. KG is one of the largest and most well-known ­water management companies in the German state of Brandenburg. With its workforce of around 170 employees, it supplies drinking water to approx. 130,000 local residents. Moreover, the company is in charge of managing the wastewater generated in Cottbus and eight neighbouring districts. For many years now, REMONDIS Group companies and PPP firms have been providing local authorities with reliable water and wastewater ­services. The renovation of the sewer in the centre of Cottbus is the biggest project LWG is due to carry out this year.

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