Water resources management
20 years of the Rostock Model
REMONDIS’ subsidiary EURAWASSER is the largest water supplier in the german state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern:
EURAWASSER has been working on behalf of local authorities and associations in the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern as a private sector service provider since 1993. EURAWASSER’s contractual partners are the municipal water and wastewater associations, Warnow-Wasser- und Abwasserverband (WWAV) and Wasserversorgungs- und Abwasserzweckverband Güstrow-Bützow-Sternberg (WAZ), as well as the public utility companies in Güstrow and Schwerin. A quarter of all inhabitants, a total of more than 400,000 people, get their drinking water from REMONDIS Aqua’s recently acquired subsidiary making it the largest water supplier in this German state.
EURAWASSER is active in Rostock via its company, EURAWASSER Nord GmbH, the result of a merger between EURAWASSER GmbH Rostock and EURAWASSER Mecklenburg GmbH in 2003. The original contract was based on a public private partnership (PPP) with the City of Rostock, which brought into effect the first concession model for water and the first operator model for wastewater of this magnitude in Germany in 1993. The 20-year anniversary next year will highlight the sustainable success of the “Rostock Model“, as this type of contract is now referred to, where EURAWASSER brings in its know-how as a service provider
Gesine Strohmeyer, managing director of EURAWASSER Nord
and the local authorities continue unhindered to carry out their official tasks as they remain the owner of all the water facilities.
As a result of the merger of the companies into EURAWASSER Nord, administrative regions were set up in and around Rostock-Güstrow which are in charge of operating and maintaining the 63 waterworks and the approx. 2,400-kilometers drinking water pipe network as well as the 65 sewage treatment plants and the ca. 2,000-kilometers sewer network. EURAWASSER Nord is responsible for ensuring there is a stable supply of drinking water of the correct quality and that wastewater is collected and treated without interruption. As a result of the contract, renovation work and investments amounting to ca. 400 million euros have been carried out to modernise and extend the drinking water and wastewater pipe networks and the processing facilities. The extensive reconstruction and extension work carried out on the Rostock waterworks – combined with the introduction of complex processing technology, such as the ozonation facility – has meant that, since 1995, a quality of drinking water has been achieved that had never been reached before in accordance with the strict standards of the ‘TrinkwV’ (German Drinking Water Ordinance). Surface water is taken directly from the River Warnow and processed into drinking water. In 2009, EURAWASSER Nord was awarded the accreditation DIN EN ISO 22.000 – the first ever water supplier in Germany to receive this.
State-of-the-art technology for wastewater treatment
The centrepiece of the investment was the modernisation and extension work carried out on the central sewage treatment plant in Rostock in 1994/1995. 85 million euros was spent on extending the 1st and 2nd biological treatment stage as well as on building a complex sewage sludge treatment plant. Using state-of-the-art technology such as the biological upflow filtration process BIOFOR (BIOlogical Fixed film Oxygen Reactor), a stable and highly efficient treatment process has been achieved with excellent discharge values. As a result of putting the central sewage treatment plant into operation, Rostock has been removed from HELCOM's list of “Hot Spots“. HELCOM is the international commission set up in 1974 to protect the Baltic Sea.
Investing in research and technology
Special mention should be made of the cooperation work carried out between EURAWASSER Nord and the Institute for Environmental Engineering at the University of Rostock in the area of research and development which began back in 1994. What began as cooperation work to fulfil an official task – the scientific monitoring of the activities at the central sewage treatment plant in Rostock – has developed into something extremely successful. So far EURAWASSER has invested over one million euros in research work and this has proven to be profitable: numerous research results from the pilot sewage treatment plant have been put into practice that have led to reduced electricity consumption and a more efficient use of materials at the central sewage treatment plant. Focus is being put on further optimising energy consumption to counter rising energy costs and to reduce CO2 emissions to help prevent climate change. By building its own combined heat and power plant (CHP) in 2009, EURAWASSER Nord now produces approx. 65 percent of the central sewage treatment plant’s electricity requirements itself helping to reduce its dependency on the electricity market. Furthermore, practically all of the sewage treatment plant’s heat requirements are covered by the CHP. The close cooperation work carried out with the university will be further extended over the coming years, for example with an endowed professorship for water management which EURAWASSER Nord initiated at the University of Rostock in 2011. Besides being responsible for ensuring operations and water supply run smoothly, the company is also involved in further extending customer relationships in the region. A customer service centre was set up in Rostock which handles around 80,000 customer leads a year in a competent and service-oriented manner. EURAWASSER Nord currently employs around 400 people, 24 of whom are apprentices. EURAWASSER Nord is, therefore, able to rely on a wide range of highly qualified specialists for its water supply and wastewater treatment tasks in the Rostock-Güstrow area.
Numerous research results have been put into practice and today contribute towards lowering energy consumption and increasing efficiency.