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Industrial Project of the Year: Shortlist

For the project, commissioned in 2020, that represents the most impressive technical or environmental achievement in the field of industrial water and wastewater.

Shortlisted Nominees


Ain Dar sulphate removal facility, Saudi Arabia

What is it?

A sulphate removal facility (SRF), with a 435,000bpd (69,000m3/d) capacity, using nanofiltration on seawater that is used for waterflooding onshore oil reservoirs. The facility is part of the massive Qurrayah Sea Water Plant injection system.

Who was involved?

The SRF, owned and operated by Saudi Aramco, was delivered as a lump-sum turnkey project in September 2020. Lead EPC contractor was Enppi, alongside construction subcontractor PetroJet. Amec Foster Wheeler initiated the project design, which was completed by Worley Parsons. SafBon supplied the nanofiltration package, with Hydranautics providing membranes. Process components were procured via different vendors including Absfil, Sulzer, Flowserve, Atlas Copco, Hadetec, ABB, AES, Petronash and SPX.

What makes it special?

Committed to sustainability, Saudi Aramco decided to exploit seawater instead of local non-potable groundwater for waterflooding its oil reservoirs in Ain Dar. This endeavour was facilitated by the nearby position of the seawater treatment plant in Qurayyah and its established pipeline network. However, the high sulphate content of seawater, which damages oil reservoirs and reduces the oil recovery rate, prevented its usage. The SRF, which is also one of the world’s largest nanofiltration installations, easily overcame this challenge.

The unprecedented capacity of this project for waterflooding onshore oil reservoirs not only significantly boosts oil production, but also ensures that an equal volume of groundwater reserves is safeguarded. During this process, Saudi Aramco was also able to reduce its anticipated greenhouse gas emissions by transitioning from seawater injection gas-powered pumps to electric ones linked to the national grid.


The SRF is based on a zero liquid discharge system that offers immediate reuse benefits. Reject water is redirected to the seawater pipeline network to be injected at other fields where sulphate removal is not required. Two lined ponds were constructed to separately store clean water drainage and oily water drainage from which oils are reused.


Alto Seveso WWTP upgrade, Italy

What is it?

An upgrade of the biological treatment system at the Alto Seveso wastewater treatment plant owned by Lariana Depur SpA, located in a textile-dominated industrial zone near Lake Como in Italy.

Who was involved?

Lariana Depur designed the partial upgrade of the biological treatment section with the support of Xylem Italia, which supplied a wholesale solution, including machinery, equipment and instruments. Xylem also holds the service contract and is cooperating in the automatic control of the entire system.

What makes it special?

The new biological treatment system allows a huge range of flexibility and control. Six different areas of the plug-flow tank can now be controlled by instrumentation and probes. In addition, different quantities of air can be fed from turbo-blowers to six fine bubble systems. A high-efficiency adaptive submersible mixer was added to provide the flexibility needed to easily undulate between the pre- and post-denitrification steps.

The upgrade enabled huge energy savings of 20%, or 640,000kWh a year, meaning major cost savings for the client compared to the pre-existing situation. Much of the reduction was achieved by the new ability to dynamically adjust operations according to the pollutant load to be removed.


The improvement of the WWTP helped Lariana Depurto enhance the water quality of the Seveso River, and consequently, meet the stringent discharge directives regulating the Lake Como area. This example sets a new standard for industrial zones, particularly those hosting textile manufacturing, to promote the preservation of local water resources.


L’Oréal Warsaw water reuse plant, Poland

What is it?

A 400m3/d wastewater treatment and water reuse plant commissioned for cosmetics giant L’Oréal in Warsaw, Poland.

Who was involved?

Nijhuis Saur Industries delivered the €4.3 million turnkey project. Nijhuis Water Technology was involved in the installation and commissioning. 3D technology was used for project execution improvements without stops in production. L’Oréal’s staff operate the plant with the support of Nijhuis.

What makes it special?

With Poland facing increasingly regular drought periods, L’Oréal’s Warsaw site has slashed its water consumption in half by reusing approximately 75,000m3 of water annually. An array of processes are employed, including flocculation & flotation, a membrane bioreactor, sludge treatment, and a reverse osmosis system. The produced clean water is reused for co-production processes. Inspired by the ‘Water Loop factory’ concept, part of L’Oréal’s sustainability strategy, this project proves that the environmental footprint of cosmetics production can be significantly reduced.

With exceptional white walls and a glass façade, design was an integral part of this plant’s implementation, perfectly complementing the aesthetics of the Warsaw site, unlike similar projects established by L’Oréal elsewhere. Another unique feature of this plant is the i-Dose system, an intelligent chemical dosing system by Nijhuis. While conventional dosing pumps are set on a fixed setting, often leading to overdosing chemicals during strong fluctuations in effluent quality, i-Dose uses real-time analysis of multiple wastewater quality parameters to adapt the chemical consumption to the actual pollution load.


By optimising the chemical usage, the i-Dose system increases the efficiency of the pretreatment system which reduces the power consumption in subsequent treatment phases. Therefore, the plant is not only achieving economic and environmental gains by minimising chemical costs but also through power savings with 3,300 kWh consumed daily. Adding to these gains, operation time and labour load are also reduced since it is a fully automated system.


NIPSCO cooling water algae treatment, USA

What is it?

A novel chemical treatment programme enabling Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) to treat the cooling tower water at its Rollin M. Schahfer Generating Station near Wheatfield, Indiana, using a non-phosphorus based solution.

Who was involved?

The project was delivered by Suez under an opex-only service model. EquipSolutions was engaged in the project’s construction and commissioning. Suez was able to deliver the solution in only 30 days while adhering to strict COVID-related guidelines, and continues to provide support and monitoring services.

What makes it special?

The use of phosphorus in cooling water treatment has been a challenge for NIPSCO since the micronutrient, when discharged in effluent, promotes algae growth in water systems. Suez’s proposed solution, its Engineered Carboxylate Oxide (E.C.O. Film) technology, involves a non-phosphorus corrosion control programme, with a total blowdown capacity of 13,220 gallons per minute, that dramatically lowers the amount of phosphorus from the blowdown entering the effluent discharge.

The implementation cost represented just a small fraction of the overall savings so far, which totalled $2.1 million in the first year alone. As no capital costs or further operating costs were involved, NIPSCO realised immediate cost savings due to the reduced amount of algaecide used for algae management and the improved condenser performance. The overall staff time required at the plant was also minimised due to the simplified management of the Suez system.


In an increasingly natural gas-oriented market, this project helps improve the environmental profile of the coal-fired power plant to remain competitive. By reducing up to 12 million pounds of algae annually, discharge violations are avoided. In addition, the project’s impact extends beyond the plant footprint, mitigating the negative impact of algae on local water sources and aquatic life, which subsequently safeguards the local ecosystem and public health.


The Global Water Awards 2021 is proudly sponsored by:

Dupont Water Solutions

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