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  • Dear Readers!

    Many people will be looking at their calendar with a feeling of disbelief that this turbulent year is already coming to a close. 2021 has been a year that will remain in our memories for a long time to come. Here in Germany, the devastating floods that hit the state of Rhineland-Palatinate and parts of North Rhine-Westphalia were a strong reminder that we finally have to up our efforts and take some serious steps to curb climate change. And while the people living in the affected regions are still clearing up the rubble – also thanks to the rapid help from the circular economy – and working to rebuild their lives, the world met in Glasgow to argue about whether or not to phase out coal. At the same time, covid came back again with a vengeance this autumn. Hesitant politicians and organisational failure came up against a waning vaccine immunity and vaccine scepticism among a minority of the population, who seem determined to ignore scientific facts. And, this year was an election year – the end of the Chancellor Merkel era – and a perfect storm had been brewing in a political vacuum as the slow-moving coalition talks meant the new Government could not take up the reins. It is high time that the right course is set – in politics, in the economy and in society.

    Faced with such difficult situations, it is then almost a minor miracle that our family business has – together with and thanks to our partners and customers – had an exceptionally good year. Much of this can be put down to the global economy restarting in the spring after the strict covid measures were provisionally lifted. The flipside of unrestrained production activities and a highly charged global trade, though, soon became evident: a general shortage of raw materials. Anyone trying to build a house and get hold of timber or plastic pipes in 2021 certainly know all about this problem. As the year drew to an end, it was even difficult to get hold of recycling sacks because, being in such high demand, there is a shortage of recycled plastic pellets.  

    Which brings us to the subjects that unite the essence of the two previous paragraphs: climate action and resource conservation. The wide range of services that our company delivers plays a major role in helping to solve the problems mentioned above. By recycling materials, producing renewable energy and offering sustainable services, we are easing both problems at the same time. Each tonne of raw material recycled by our company not only conserves virgin resources but also cuts large volumes of carbon emissions. Along the way, we are also gradually switching over to climate-neutral logistics. Inspired, by the way, as well by our sister company Transdev, which already deploys whole fleets of electric buses in many cities around the world – a role model and an incentive for us to do even more.

    And so there is some good news as well at the end of this eventful year – and we would like to thank you all for the great collaboration work that made this possible. May we also take this opportunity to wish you a happy Christmas and all the very best for the coming year.


    Ludger Rethmann

EURAWASSER volunteers spent 14 days helping out

  • Torrents of water swept through Ahrweiler and other towns in the north of Rhineland-Palatinate and the south of North Rhine-Westphalia in the middle of July. Many regions were flooded, houses filled with water, buildings collapsed and, tragically, many people lost their lives. On top of this, supply and waste management systems stopped working – including the water and wastewater networks. As far as the EURAWASSER Group’s experts were concerned, it went without saying that they would help wherever they could. Several of its subsidiaries from across the country immediately sent teams with vacuum/cleaning vehicles and pumps to the regions impacted by the floods where they provided emergency assistance removing the water and mud from the sewer pipes and cellars. All in all, the EURAWASSER volunteers spent around a fortnight helping out.

Images that will never be forgotten

  • “I am a firefighter and have seen many bad things in the course of my work. But never on a scale like this,” commented Oliver Römer from EURAWASSER in Goslar, who was obviously still shocked by everything he had experienced. His colleague Ralf Zutz, an employee at EURAWASSER in Güstrow, is still clearly affected as well: “It’s practically impossible to put it into words. We saw some pretty bad things. It’ll take a while to come to terms with it.” WAL-Betrieb employee Marcus Schrade from Senftenberg agreed: “It’ll be hard to get the images out of my head.” Together with their colleagues, the three of them got down to work in Ahrweiler and the other towns with their ravaged homes and roads and badly damaged water, wastewater and electricity networks. For the most part working in twelve-hour shifts – with the suffering and distress of the flood victims in front of their eyes.

    Their colleagues spent eight days travelling around Ahrweiler and the neighbouring villages in their vacuum/cleaning trucks to remove the mud, debris and refuse from the sewers.
    Among them Maik Nehls from Güstrow: “So that the residents could at least start using their toilets again,” he said. The sewers were “filled to the brim. The floods had swept away the manhole covers and all the rubble had been washed into the pipes.” Even the shafts were completely blocked – and some of them even broken beyond repair.

    The water experts worked late into the evening. And they didn’t stop afterwards either: WAL-Betrieb’s team in Senftenberg collected donations – organised by the works council – and handed them over to the badly affected District of Grafschaft

“I am a firefighter and have seen many bad things in the course of my work. But never on a scale like this.”

Oliver Römer, EURAWASSER Goslar

Some small successes & a big thank you

  • “Together with the others, we managed to unblock the sewer pipes in a village close to Ahrweiler,” Maik Nehls and his colleague Ralf Zutz were pleased to say when reporting on one of the many small successes they had achieved while working on the sewer network. It was obvious just how important the EURAWASSER team’s work had been when the weather took a turn for the worse again just a few days later. “It actually began raining again but the water was able to flow through the pipes,” commented Oliver Römer from Goslar, describing one of the many positive moments he had experienced while clearing up the devastation caused by the floods.

    “It goes without saying that we’ll help out when towns face such disasters,” explained Robert Ristow, managing director of EURAWASSER. “We are so proud of our employees who selflessly travelled to the areas to help out – often pushing themselves to the point of exhaustion.” The teams often found themselves being thanked by the flood victims. Even though everyone is well aware that there is still a long way to go before the towns and villages affected will get their lives back to normal.

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