The growing problem of water scarcity of sufficient quality affects more or less 70% of the European population, especially the southern countries where the impact of climate change is greater with eventual episodes of flooding or drought. Moreover, the costs of energy production will have increased considerably in 2030 and the use of energy in the wastewater treatment is high.
EU policy makers and institutions are committed to develop new strategies focused on the efficient use of water resources. The European Innovation Partnership on Water, (EIP Water), has identified as priority areas: water scarcity, wastewater treatment unsustainability and impact of untreated wastewater over water bodies. The LIFE SIAMEC proposal will tackle with three of these priority areas: wastewater treatment, water-energy nexus and Water reuse and recycling. According to the priority areas listed in the Annex III to the LIFE Regulation, the main environmental problem targeted by this project is environment and resource efficiency. In particular, the LIFE SIAMEC proposal will face the following environmental concerns:
- To focus on more efficient innovative solutions regarding recycled/reclaimed water, developing concepts for (alternative) water supply, wastewater treatment, reuse and recovery of resources.
- To develop technologies for resource efficient processes of wastewater treatment aiming to reduce energy consumption for the treatment and management of water.
- To implement sustainable water saving measures to reduce pressures on water bodies in water scarce regions.
- To address integrated management of nutrients and organic pollution of human and industrial origin.
The knowledge on wastewater treatment technologies has evolved considerably since Conventional Activated Sludge (CAS) processes, but they are still the most spread solution. Nevertheless, all the benefices of CAS processes are mainly counteracted by the high energy consumption associated. In this sense, LIFE SIAMEC project will demonstrate the feasibility of an integrated system capable of treating and reusing wastewater under anaerobic conditions at ambient temperature, eliminating the nitrogen present in the wastewater and significantly reducing sludge production, energy consumption and methane emissions from anaerobic treatment associated with an anoxic/aerobic post- treatment.