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Wastewater Project of the Year: Shortlist

For the wastewater project, commissioned during 2019, that shows the greatest innovation in terms of optimising its physical or environmental footprint.

Shortlisted Nominees


Almahsama drainage recycling, Egypt

What is it?

A 1,000,000m3/d wastewater treatment and reuse project in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Wastewater from Mahsama will be transferred to the new WWTP through two tunnels, after which it will provide irrigation water to approximately 50,000 hectares of land in the peninsula.

Who is involved?

Construction was carried out by a joint venture of Metito and Hassan Allam, who will also operate the plant for five years. Design was supported by consultants Khatib and Alami, with equipment suppliers Stragwa, Turishema, Sulzer, Schnider Electric, Enxio and Sereco. The total project cost was approximately $100 million.

What makes it special?

Almahsama is the largest reuse project of its type in the world and represents a pioneering step for water reuse and recycling in Africa, where it is still evolving as a sustainable solution to water scarcity.

The plant will provide a new source of water wealth for the peninsula, creating a new generation of job opportunities in the agricultural sector and contributing to the development of new communities in the area. It also represents a significant step in improving the environmental condition of the peninsula.


Previously untreated wastewater would flow into the Temsah lake, causing severe consequences for animal habitats and local fishing culture.

The project’s flawless construction process boasts some truly impressive figures. Work was completed in 10 months, far ahead of the 24-month timeline originally estimated for construction. Additionally, around 1 million m3 of soil was excavated for tunnel construction and 15,000m2 of land was paved for the WWTP culminating in 2,528,210 hours of labour with zero lost time incidents.


Hubei ITEST Decentralised Treatment, China

What is it?

A decentralised wastewater treatment project in Hubei province, China, involving the installation of around 80 packaged membrane aerated biofilm reactor (MABR) units at at service areas and tolls every 50km along the province’s highway networks. To date, the project has delivered units offering a combined wastewater treatment capacity of more than 9,000m3/d.

Who is involved?

The project was based on Fluence’s Aspiral smart MABR units. An initial bulk order was signed between Fluence and Chinese partner Hubei ITEST in December 2018, followed by five additional orders in 2019. The combined contracts total over $15 million.

What makes it special?

The MABR L4 and S1 systems offer highly efficient nutrient removal, ideally suited to the high-nitrogen content of the Hubei influent. The units employ simultaneous nitrification and denitrification which result in opex savings and perform reliably in all four seasons and peak travel season variations.

The modular design serves as an industry pilot for domestic wastewater treatment in the highways field. The units are assembled, tested and packaged in Fluence’s manufacturing plants, meaning fast and efficient installation upon delivery.


The fastest commissioning of a unit in the project so far has been under four weeks. Additionally, the plants can be remotely monitored and operated in real time via smart device, significantly simplifying the O&M needs of the operator.

The project has benefitted environmental protection efforts in Hubei. The decentralised units offer a minimal footprint, and the treatment achieves compliance with China’s stringent rural wastewater regulations by producing the highest quality of effluent.


Koyambedu Tertiary Treatment RO plant, India

What is it?

A 45,000m3/d reverse osmosis plant and transmission pipeline in Koyambedu, Tamil Nadu, treating wastewater for reuse at an industrial hub.

Who is involved?

The project was delivered under an $83 million, 15-year design-build-operate contract signed between the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board and a consortium comprising VA Tech Wabag (80%) and IDE Technologies (20%), supported under the Indian government’s AMRUT programme. Equipment for the plant was supplied by Inge (low-pressure membranes), Dow and Pentair (RO membranes), Wabag Austria (valves), Bharat Minerals/Kalimati Carbon (sand filters) and Xylem (ozonation units), among others.

What makes it special?

The plant is the largest and most technologically advanced reuse project in India. It is the first reuse facility in India to use ozonation for disinfection and marks a decisive step for the country’s ambitions for municipal water recycling. Furthermore, with the completion of the TTRO, Chennai is now the first Indian city to reuse more than 20% of its treated wastewater.

The project will boost Chennai’s water resilience and sustainability in the wake of the city’s ongoing struggles with drought and water scarcity.


The TTRO will help free up over 16 million m3 of freshwater each year, securing water supply for Chennai’s population of more than 10 million people.

The TTRO uses a multi-stage treatment scheme, including ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis, rapid gravity sand filters, and ozonation. The UF and RO membranes achieve a recovery rate of 75%, and the plant has an ultra-low specific power requirement of 1.88kWh/m3, which is expected to incur significant savings in the plant’s operating costs over the next 15 years.


Paso Robles WWTP, USA

What is it?

A tertiary treatment upgrade at the 18,546m³/d Paso Robles WWTP, California, including the development of a nutrient harvesting system, with treated water used for irrigation at local farms, golf courses and parks.

Who is involved?

Black & Veatch carried out project design and engineering services under a contract with the City of Paso Robles. Construction was undertaken by Cushman Contracting. Cloth filtration equipment was provided by Aqua-Aerobic Systems, and UV equipment by Trojan UV Technologies.

What makes it special?

The project massively improved the plant’s physical and environmental footprint and serves as the first step in the city’s long-term plan to create a resilient and sustainable water supply. The expanded WWTP converts wastewater into California Article 22-compliant recycled water for irrigation, a crucial move in supporting the city’s water resilience.

The nutrient harvesting system was conceived and developed during construction of the tertiary treatment facilities when it became evident that lower flow conditions had caused a struvite build-up in piping and equipment.


In addition to preventing struvite build-up, the harvesting system keeps phosphorus, nitrogen and ammonia from overloading local and state water resources. It also produces a commercial-grade fertiliser which can be sold to subsidise operating costs.

The flexibility of the design means the plant can send water to the Salinas River when demand for recycled water is low. The tertiary treatment process flows by gravity, eliminating the need for pumping and thereby saving equipment and energy expenses. Additionally, repurposed secondary sedimentation tanks that had previously sat unused allow disinfection processes to operate continuously and at a more constant rate.


The Global Water Awards 2020 is proudly sponsored by:

Dupont Water Solutions

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