Posted: Monday 27th July 2015

The FCC water management subsidiary has been awarded the contract for the operation and maintenance of the wastewater treatment facilities in Hadda and Arana in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, for three years and representing a business portfolio of € 20 million.

FCC Aqualia has secured a contract comprising the operation and maintenance of the two largest wastewater treatment plants in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, in consortium with the local company Alkhorayef Water and Power Company. The wastewater treatment plants in Hadda and Arana treat an average water flow of 250,000 m3 and a have a maximum capacity to treat 375,000 m3. The contract will run for three years and has a business portfolio of € 20 million.

Mecca has a stable populationof 1.5 million people, growing considerably higher during visits by pilgrims. It is estimated that around 13 million annual visits occur each year and that the maximum sporadic influx throughout the month of Ramadan (during Hajj festivities) is between 4 and 5 million people. This situation creates significant variations in the water flow from the source to the treatment plants.

With this new contract, the third since the subsidiary began in Riyadh in 2011, FCC Aqualia has firmly established itself in the Middle East, in particular in the Saudi Arabian market.

The consortium between both companies will be jointly responsible for: the operation and maintenance of treatment facilities and units, including workshops, laboratories, electrical installations, service road status, security systems, supply, sanitation and drainage projects within the facilities, environmental maintenance of the facilities, laboratory team and conducting analyses.

This project falls within the framework of the program carried out by Saudi Arabian authorities which aims to transform and modernise the country's water cycle management. In this context, the Saudi state water company, National Water Company (NWC), is significantly improving the operation and performance of the sector via the incorporation of international companies that are specialised in Operation and Maintenance.

Projects in the Middle East

In recent years FCC Aqualia has been selected to carry out various projects in the Middle East. In 2010 it was chosen to optimise the water supply network in the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh. This contract represented a turning point for the entire sector, given that it was the first water management contract in the Middle East awarded to a Spanish company.

Since January 2012, FCC Aqualia, in consortium with the local company MACE Contractors, has been overseeing the water sanitation and purification in the eastern area of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, which stretches 2,400 km in length.

In December of last year, the FCC water management division of FCC, in conjunction with the companies EPC and Hyundai Rotem, began to operate in Qatar where it controls the sanitation of the city of Al Dhakira, located in the Qatari east coast, around sixty kilometres from the country's capital, Doha. The project includes the construction and operation of a wastewater treatment plant to meet the needs of more than 200,000 citizens.

FCC Aqualia, a company specialised in the design, construction and operation of all types of sanitation infrastructure, operates 320 wastewater treatment plants in four continents. In this regard, the company significantly helps to improve the quality of life in areas where it works.

Along with its experience in sanitation and purification projects, the company works on different R&D&I initiatives to apply new technologies to these processes. It is worth highlighting the All-gas project, carried out under the European Union FP7 program and which studies the use of microalgae in the wastewater treatment process as a way to obtain biofuels. The project, which is carried out in Chiclana (Cadiz), has reached its demonstrative phase and will begin to test the generated biogas on four Volkswagen vehicles.

In addition, Aqualia’s ELAN patented technology based on anammox bacteria offers important advantages in purification. These include: electricity consumption savings in the nitrogen elimination process; less sludge production, thereby saving in the treatment and handling of such; and environmental advantages given that the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is lower than the quantity released during the conventional process.

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