Skip to content

Wastewater Project of the Year

For the wastewater project, commissioned during 2022, that shows the greatest innovation in terms of optimising its physical or environmental footprint.

Victor Valley resource recovery centre, USA

What is it?

A state-of-the-art co-digestion and biogas upgrading facility delivered at the 12MGD (45,420m3/d) Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority (VVWRA) facility in Victorville, California. The facility converts 235,000 tons a year of waste and sludge into 320,000Mmbtu of biomethane, and is North America’s largest privately financed co-digestion-to-pipeline project, producing biomethane from wastewater.

Who is involved?

The project was designed, built, operated and financed by Anaergia through its subsidiary SoCal Biomethane, which installed two 800kW dual-fuel combined heat and power modules to complement its Omnivore high-solids anaerobic digestion technology. Its construction partner was W.M. Lyles, and finance was provided by North Sky Capital and Live Oak Bank.

What makes it special?

The project deftly integrates solutions in the water and energy spheres, demonstrating how efficient and technically advanced retrofits of old digesters at wastewater plants can enable more revenue generation and reduce disposal costs, making the utility a net energy exporter at the same time as reducing its carbon footprint.

The plant also helps local municipalities comply with California’s stringent waste disposal regulations, which aims to reduce the landfilling of organic waste by 75%. By co-digesting off-site waste, the plant makes VVWRA a regional champion for waste reduction even beyond its own wastewater responsibilities.


As the largest example of a PPP project in its sector to date, the involvement of corporate lenders North Sky and Live Oak makes the project a shining beacon for the impact of private finance in ensuring California’s environmental ambitions for the water sector.


Taif ISTP, Saudi Arabia

What is it?

A SAR320 million ($85 million) privately owned independent sewage treatment plant (ISTP) serving the city of Taif in Saudi Arabia. The project is the first major wastewater treatment plant in the Kingdom awarded on a PPP basis to reach commercial operation, and treats an initial 100,000m3/d of wastewater. It deploys a continuous flow sequencing batch reactor (SBR) stage followed by tertiary filtration and disinfection, as well as sludge treatment with anaerobic digestion, solar drying and a biogas cogeneration system.

Who is involved?

The project was delivered by a team comprising Spain’s Cobra Instalaciones y Servicios and International Water Distribution Co. (Tawzea) under a 25-year build-own-operate-transfer contract signed with the Saudi Water Partnership Company. SBR technology was provided by Waterleau.

What makes it special?

As the first wastewater treatment plant to be brought online under Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030-inspired water privatisation programme, the successful commissioning of the Taif plant was a huge signal of intent for PPP outside more traditional infrastructure areas like power generation and desalination. Treating wastewater at an ultra-competitive price of $0.29/m3, it sets the stage for privatisation in every new corner of the water sector.

With tertiary treatment capabilities and sludge handling expertise, the plant is a first mover in a new generation of sewage treatment in the Kingdom. Treated water irrigates more than 10,000 trees around the plant, while solar-driven sludge handling contributes biogas accounting for more than 30% of the facility’s energy footprint, putting the plant at the centre of the Kingdom’s green goals.


Despite a challenging plant site and interruptions from the pandemic, the plant was delivered on a breakneck 22-month schedule, proving that canny design and delivery expertise can deliver projects of the highest quality in the most challenging conditions.

%d bloggers like this: