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Wastewater Project of the Year

For the wastewater treatment plant, commissioned during 2014, that shows the greatest innovation in terms of optimising its physical or environmental footprint.

Agua Prieta WWTP, Mexico

What is it?

A 734,000m3/d municipal wastewater treatment plant with a peak flow capacity of 1.3 million m3/d, serving 3.3 million people in Mexico’s Guadalajara region and contributing to the restoration of the heavily polluted Santiago River.

Who is responsible?

The project was developed by Renova Atlatec, a special purpose vehicle comprising Mitsui USA subsidiary SAT (16%), Mitsui/Toyo vehicle Atlatec (34%) and ICA (50%), through a 20-year build-operate-transfer agreement with the Water Commission of the State of Jalisco. An Atlatec/ICA venture undertook the EPC work, and currently operates the plant.

What makes it special?

The use of biogas recovery for electricity cogeneration makes the plant 100% self-sufficient, an astounding achievement for a facility of this size. It also reduces carbon emissions by more than 40,000 tons per year, a hugely positive sign in an industry that has historically drained a large chunk of Mexico’s national energy demand.

The construction team successfully overcame considerable topographical difficulties, including the need to site the facility within a tight 10-hectare site on a steep slope in rocky terrain. A short execution window and a ban on the use of explosives demanded further levels of ingenuity.


As the second largest WWTP of its kind in Latin America and the largest in Mexico, the Agua Prieta facility sets a new benchmark in terms of quality and scale in a region that has been the focus of enormous infrastructure expansion. It proves that successful developers can tackle even the largest of social and environmental challenges with aplomb.


Fes WWTP, Morocco

What is it?

A 155,000m3/d wastewater treatment plant deploying biological treatment and sludge management to deal with both municipal and industrial wastewater streams from an area containing 1.3 million people.

Who is responsible?

The plant was commissioned by national water and power agency ONEE and the Fes water agency RADEEF. It was built by contractor Waterleau under a contract that will see the company operate the plant for ten years.

What makes it special?

The construction of Morocco’s largest sewage treatment plant is a coup for both client and contractor. Its location at a crucial juncture in the Sebou river basin will enable a reduction in the disposal of untreated wastewater, simultaneously improving the environment and the quality of life for more than 5 million people.

The deployment of an activated sludge process design allows it to deal with both domestic wastewater and effluent from the city’s olive oil and leather industries. Meanwhile, the cogeneration installation marks a new high for sustainability in the country’s infrastructure and allows internal generation of up to 70% of the plant’s energy needs, meaning Morocco’s largest WWTP has one of the country’s smallest energy footprints.


The conclusion of the project cements Waterleau’s position as the contractor of choice following on from successful commissionings at Marrakech, Bouskoura and Dakhla, and the financing package put together by state authorities marked a successful domestic co-operation between national state funding, the local banking sector and utility financing.

The Global Water Awards 2018 is proudly sponsored by:

Evoqua logo, links to Evoqua homepage

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