On October 20, 2016, the 11 experts participating in the traineeship of Project "Wastewater treatment: technical solutions and infrastructure management for developing countries with severe environmental vulnerabilities” visited the Integrated Ecologic Site of Acea Pinerolese Industriale Spa.
The project is an initiative of Hydroaid realized with the financial assistance of the International Cooperation Fund of ATO 3 “Autorità d’Ambito n.3 Torinese” (the Water Authority of Turin) in partnership with Politecnico di Torino and SMAT with the goal of ensuring better sanitation services by providing managers and technicians with tools for designing, managing, monitoring and assessing all phases of wastewater treatment. For this purpose, the project relies on the collaboration with local specialised institusions, such as Acea, a modernmultiutility performing a broad range of services for Municipalities, Companies and the citizens. Among these are the water management, including the entire integrated water cycle, energy production, with distribution of methane gas and district heating, as well as urban organic waste collection, treatment and disposal.
We interviewed Eng. Marco Avondetto, Head of the Environmental Department of Acea Pinerolese Industriale Spa, to learn more about the utility’s commitment for development cooperation.
Acea Pinerolese Industriale Spa is an affirmed leader in the management of the integrated cycle water-waste-energy. The Ecologic Site of Pinerolo is a model in Europe thanks to constant innovation and attention to sustainability. How does the mission of ACEA match the cooperation initiatives promoted by the local territory?
I need to bring you back in history to answer this question. Acea was founded several years ago as a consortium of Municipalities. At that time our waste department relied exclusively on the landfill and a very simple collection service. Eventually separate waste collection systems were introduced we and focused on the challenges of organic waste products. Ever since the beginning, we wanted to cooperate with the local territory; this is why we realized a plant that would serve the surrounding 47 Municipalities. Later on, we understood that was not enough. The Province of Turin was unable to deal with the increasing amount of organic waste produced there, so our site was expanded to the point it became a reference center for a clearly larger operational scale. Today we deal with the waste produced by one million inhabitants, that is to say about half of the Province of Turin delivers here its organic waste. Another important feature that makes our structure unique is the level of integration: the Integrated Ecologic Site concretely connects different infrastructures in a way that is rarely seen and cast a great visibility to our work.
Over the years, Acea consolidated the expertise and infrastructure required for an effective management of water, waste and energy as a multiutility. In developing and emerging countries, these represent top priorities but their development is often precluded by limited investment capacities. How can a model of integrated management similar to Acea’s be replicated in contexts characterized by growing pressures on natural systems and frail economies?
This is a complex question and its answer isn’t simple either. I must admit that the Italian framework in the waste sector, especially in terms of local regulation, is based on the idea that disposing of waste products corresponds to a given cost. As a result, delivering waste to plants such as ours implies the payment of a tariff to compensate the operational costs of the plant processes. Replicating this mechanism in other areas, poorer countries, might not be easy due to lack of funds. In addition to this, there are hygienic and sanitary issues to face. As an example, if waste is currently disposed in unmonitored sites, the first step to improve the situation should be the creation of controlled disposal areas and eventually it will be possible to set up specific waste categories chains. The existence of treatment plants specialised in specific waste categories is another key element that should be explored. On the basis of these preliminary conditions, more complex centers - such as ours in Pinerolo - can be established, as they are technologically advanced and require the payment of a tariff
In the past years, the participants of the courses held by Hydroaid benefitted in multiple occasions from the experience of Acea through visits of its Integrated Ecologic Site and lectures by its experts. Do you think this collaboration contributed positively to the international standing of Acea and the local territory in a sector where efficient and environment-friendly governance systems are of the essence in supporting sustainable development?
. Our collaboration was certainly useful and offered us a good visibility at the local and international level, but I believe the opportunity of sharing our experience to professionals from other countries was even more productive. Only a few minutes ago I mentioned to an Ethiopian visitor that such integrated centers can be established only provided that a tariff can be paid. In response, he told me that one of the reasons they engage in this kind of training is to learn and assess possible solutions, in order to identify which can be best reproduced in their country. At the moment they are testing an incinerator, but intend to implement of waste categories chains.
We hope that such exchanges will point at an integrated waste management system, adequate to different contexts, that will avoid the mistakes already experiences by others in the past.
The project “Wastewater treatment: technical solutions and infrastructure management in developing countries with severe environmental vulnerabilities”, realized with the financial assistance of the International Cooperation Fund of ATO3 (the Water Authority of Turin), will bring the top organizations for integrated water and waste management of the local system to share experiences for sustainability. The initiative, led by Hydroaid - Water for Development Management Institute - in collaboration with SMAT and the Department of Environment, Land and Infrastructure Engineering of Politecnico di Torino, has the goal of ensuring a better management of public services connected to water depuration by providing managers and technicians from countries with a low access to sanitation the tools for designing, managing and monitoring water resources - a hot issue in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Following a distance learning course of 16 weeks for 87 operators from 24 different countries, the best 11 candidates were selected for an intensive training in Turin of 3 weeks from 9 to 29 October 2016. They will be responsible for contributing to the improvement of the quality of water services, living conditions and environmental impacts in their countries of origin. The selected participants are from Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Zambia, Uganda, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nepal and they work in public institutions with competences in the field of wastewater treatment.
During the 3-week-training in Turin, the group will visit the depuration and wastewater treatment plants of SMAT S.p.A., leader utility in the field of integrated water management; the establishment of Collegno where Barricalla S.p.A. administers the largest disposal site for special waste products (hazardous and not hazardous) in Italy and a solar farm; the waste-to-energy incineratormanaged by TRM S.p.A. (Trattamento Rifiuti Metropolitani) operative since 2014; the selection center for plastic packaging waste Demap S.r.l. (Beinasco); and the plant of Acea Pinerolese Industriale S.p.A., multi utility structure for the entire waste management cycle. In addition to this, the program will be integrated by the involvement of the Metropolitan City of Turin (Office of the Integrated Waste Cycle) and Fondazione per l’Ambiente (Foundation for the Environment) that will complete the framework of skills and tools needed to manage and conserve a fundamental common good.
Congratulations to all 84 participants of the e-Learning course "Wastewater Treatment and Management of Urban Solid Waste - 2016" (Module 1 and Module 2), the first phase of the Project "Wastewater treatment: technical and managerial solutions for developing countries with severe environmental vulnerabilities" realized with the financial assistance of ATO3, the Water Authority of Turin. With 1340 relevant posts and 269 thematic discussions, this program set new records of participation and filled the past 16 weeks with important exchanges and experience sharing. Participants who scored a final grade of at least 65% will qualify for the Certificate of Attendance, which will be sent via e-mail in the next weeks. The top 10 candidates from the target countries of the Project (Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Kenya, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sudan, Uganda, Zambia) will also be contacted for accessing Phase 2: a3-week-traineeship in Italy to strengthen the knowledge on Wastewater Treatment and Management of Urban Solid Waste acquired during the e-Learning Phase. The final ranking will be available shortly.
"I thank Hydroaid and all of the tutors for this interesting course, which gave me the possibilities for teaching to some masters degree students juste after the end of the first Module. One University in my country solicited me to teach their student on wastewater beacause I explained them the very important course contents.
I take this opportunity to thank you all for every contribution throughout Module 1 and 2. It was really helpful, especially in sharing different experiences from different countries. I hope we continue our connection for further support and other concerns
Dear Fellow Participants and Tutors, I am so happy to express my heart-filled gratitude for the opportunity to tap into this pool of knowledge. My colleagues would agree with me that this course has really been successful. It has not been easy, especially combining it with field work where the internet is highly unstable. All in all, I am glad to be part of this very essential course. I wish all of us can have the opportunity to continue at Turin. Thanks folks and Tutors. Its been nice reading all the post, suggestions and ideas deposited on the platform.
We shared a lot of valuable experiences though we are so distant, thanks to Hydroaid that led the learning environment as if it had been a live class room. I would have never imagined such an interesting distance trainint. Shortly it was awesome and I am already going to miss you all. Wish you all the best and share BIG THANKS TO HYDROAID.
It is a privilege and a great honor to be part of this marvelous team in sharing expertise ideas and solutions in the field of solid waste management and watewater treatment. It had been a wonderful journey since the start of the cours
The project “Wastewater treatment: technical solutions and infrastructure management for developing countries with severe environmental vulnerabilities” is an initiative of Hydroaid realized with the financial assistance of the International Cooperation Fund of ATO 3 “Autorità d’Ambito n.3 Torinese” (the Water Authority of Turin) with the goal of ensuring better sanitation services by providing managers and technicians with tools for designing, managing, monitoring and assessing all phases of wastewater treatment. For this purpose, the project relies on the collaboration with SMAT, founding member of Hydroaid and leader in the field of integrated water services.
Dr. Armando Quazzo, Head of the Development & Marketing Department of SMAT, answered our questions on the commitment of SMAT for development cooperation.
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SMAT is an established leader in the field of integrated water resource management thanks to its production and managerial systems, among the most advanced in Europe and the world. How does the mission of SMAT engage with the cooperation initiatives promoted by the local territory?
SMAT has always been very sensitive to all the international initiatives promoted by the territory and it often acted as the “technical arm” of the local institutions aiming to develop international initiatives in different countries. This close involvement has always been regarded as an important feature of the company as it allows a direct interchange with different realities which is the real trigger for improvement for all involved stakeholders.
Besides economic and financial goals, the issues of social responsibility and environment protection are a core part of SMAT policies for the management of public water. In developing and emerging countries, increasingly high growth index tend to fuel human pressures on natural resources. How can the experience of SMAT contribute to relief the contradiction between the rising water demand and the vulnerability of environmental systems?
The experience of SMAT in this regard can certainly be a great help, as the solution of problems connected to water distribution, as well as with collection and treatment of solid waste, is a complex challenge that requires merging components from technical, administrative, maintenance and regulatory resources. The exchange with a public utility characterized by a vertical structure for managing all these aspects allows a comparison and the application of best practices that can be replicated in different contexts.
SMAT is a founding member of Hydroaid and in the past 15 years it played an active role in the cooperation actions realized by the Association. Do you believe this collaboration contributed to reinforcing the international standing of the local territory in a field where public policies and governance models are essential elements for achieving sustainable development?
I am unable to answer with certainty whether the activity developed by SMAT through Hydroaid have accomplished the goal of enhancing the international standing of the territory. However I know that this cooperation did raise the awareness and the capacity of the local stakeholders in presenting themselves in the international scenario. I personally believe this is already a great result for the operators of a traditionally closed field.
Your lecture is dedicated to the economic regulation of integrated water services. In your opinion, what are the main challenges that the target countries involved in the project will face - in social, economic and environmental terms - to ensure access to efficient and sustainable services?
The clear challenge here is matching infrastructure plans adequate to the needs of the countries with tariffs that are sustainable for the population. As the water service is a vital one, as all essential services it is important that it is offered at a sustainable cost. This is the great challenge that urban planning and economic regulation will have to deal with in order to obtain the right balance allowing the provision of services in line with the expectations of citizens and industries, as well as supported by the contributive capacities of the users.
Our team is deeply saddened to communicate that Professor Giuseppe Genon, our friend and collaborator, has passed away on Friday. Professor Genon had been suffering from illness while keeping up with his work at the Politecnico di Torino and in the ongoing course "Wastewater Treatment and Management of Urban Solid Waste" of Hydroaid. As many of you remember, he has been our collaborator for several years: preparing, delivering and tutoring outstanding training programs. In addition to this, those who had the privilege of meeting him in person know he was also a dedicate and kind person, who had his students truly at heart and strived for bringing real contributions with his profession. His passing is the loss of an exceptional individual who did a lot for many. We will all miss him and send our thoughts and prayers to his family at this time of grief.
The training activities scheduled by the Project GoBenin began on March 14 in Abomey-Calavi. 23 beneficiaries - managers and technicians - will attend on-site training for 5 weeks to strengthen their knowledge on water basin and district planning, analysis of water demand, water supply and drainage systems, QGIS for water resource monitoring, water treatments and uses. The training session in Benin will be followed by 8 traineeships in Italy for technical staff empowerment on the topics of water infrastructure, lab analysis for water quality, production and management models shared from the Italian experience.
Benin is currently going through a broad transformation process of the water sector: new needs impose a modernization of the services based on the revision of national strategies for rural and urban water management. The town of Abomey Calavi, located in the outskirts of Cotonou, is characterized by dynamic growth trends in terms of economy and demography, favored by its geographical location and natural assets, which are likely to modify its traditional organization. These are the premises of the Project GoBenin, which has the general objective of contributing to the promotion of a better and effective management of water resources for all uses by transferring knowledge and sharing experiences in support of the social and economic development of the local population.
The core of this initiative draws from the recognition that water sustainability depends on its correct management, conservation and planning. The project aims to facilitate the definition of a feasible local framework for water governance through the production of guidelines on the optimization of water needs in each sector. In this process, training local technical staff and decision makers represents the element of sustainability that Hydroaid strives to set in action. Investing on inclusive approaches as a focus, all institutional and non-institutional stakeholders have been involved, together with the local community and their representatives, from the critical analysis of the state of local water resources in Abomey Calavi to the proposal of actions for the improvement of their management system.
The study of the context and the pressures influencing water availability reported that it is extremely unlikely that the increasing water demand can be tackled by specific solutions. Future policies and decisions should rather be oriented to the optimization of the uses of water resources in an integrated perspective, especially in non-agricultural sectors, so that sufficient amounts will remain available for ensuring the security of food production. The water-food-energy nexus is now at the centre of political agendas and balancing priorities represents the highest responsibility of decisions makers.
This is why the training model designed by Hydroaid is based on the direct application of the transferred know-how and empowers the involvement of local partners and beneficiaries, who are not only called to contribute to the improvement of the local water system but also expected to take on increasingly central roles for the dissemination of the acquired knowledge. This is the principle of the training-of-trainers methodology where beneficiaries become the front-row operators of a development process, thus creating a pool of professionals for the public sector that constantly contribute to expanding the reach of the Project impacts. Targeting beneficiaries in an effective way was critical for this purpose and functional to addressing all local interests and needs, stimulating participation and sense of project ownership that ultimately facilitate the realization of any cooperation effort.
The Project also includes the realization of a technical manual for local technicians and administrators and a set of participative actions and a Water Forum with the involvement of stakeholders from Benin and Italy to share experiences and proposals for collaboration in the water governance. Thanks to the strong decentralization of the country, the Project is able to operate directly with the authorities that are responsible for local services - the Town Municipality - and to engage them in a path of dialogue and innovation oriented to the resilience of the water sector in conditions of environmental vulnerabilities and massive growth. Benin has made great advancements in the field of water planning, but the introduction of new techniques, models and tools for measuring, monitoring and managing water is crucial. In doing so, the Project is expected to produce long term impacts on social and economic conditions through the improvement of the different uses of water resources - agriculture, energy, production and domestic uses.
Official project website
La nation: Sergio Galletta - Former les cadres et techniciens des pays en developpment
A mission for preparing the training activities programmed within the Project GoBenin “Implementation of national water policies in the Commune of Abomey-Calavi”, a EU funded cooperation initiative led by ENAS (the Sardinia Region Water Authority) was carried out from 24 to 28 January.
A team of members from ENAS, Hydroaid, ART Ambiente Risorse e Territorio and Centro Ricerche Economiche Nord Sud (CRENoS) travelled to Abomey-Calavi to meet the local partners and representatives from the University of Abomey-Calavi (UAC), the Direction Départementale des Mines de l'Energie et de l'Eau de l'Atlantique/Littoral (DDMEE Atl-Lit), and the NGOs AID and GNO'NU with the task of defining the goals and methodologies of the training program on integrated water resources management that will be implemented in the months of March-April 2016.
The Project GoBenin aims to improve health standards as well as support the local social and economic development by transferring know-hows and experiences on the governance and effective management of water resources. The specific objective of the action is to realize a study and a pilot experience in the Municipality of Abomey-Calav oriented to propose a replicable framework of local governance.
p://www.artambiente.it/" style='transition: all 0.2s ease-in-out; orphans: auto;widows: 1;-webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;word-spacing:0px'>ART Ambiente Risorse e Territorio and Centro Ricerche Economiche Nord Sud (CRENoS) travelled to Abomey-Calavi to meet the local partners and representatives from the University of Abomey-Calavi (UAC), the Direction Départementale des Mines de l'Energie et de l'Eau de l'Atlantique/Littoral (DDMEE Atl-Lit), and the NGOs AID and GNO'NU with the task of defining the goals and methodologies of the training program on integrated water resources management that will be implemented in the months of March-April 2016.
One of the tools chosen for the achievement of such objectives is the training of technicians, a task assigned Hydroaid as Implementing Partner. The mission of January was the occasion for setting the methodologies and specific contents of the training on the basis of local needs: an introductory module addressing the topics of planning and water balance will be held from 7 to 18 March; this will be followed by specialization modules on urban drainage, water supply, wastewater treatment and QGIS software, for a total of 5 weeks.
The activity thus setup is designed according to the training-of-trainers approach and includes a final module where the beneficiaries will be involved as trainers in a restitution session on the acquired knowledge, contributing to the overall sustainability of the results achieved by the Proje
The participants of the recent internship in Italy realized within the Project "Governance dos Serviços Públicos de Saneamento Ambiental" produced a joint report about their activities in Italy and the state of sanitation in Brazil
The document is the outcome of technical visits, shared experiences and the expertise of10 professionals working in Brazilian institutions who attended an integrated training program by Hydroaid financed by ATO3. Starting from an e-learning course "Planejamento para sustentabilidade", the top qualified candidates were selected for an internship in Italy organized in collaboration with ART Ambiente Risorse e Territorio, and participated in a final workshop of dissemination in Sao Paolo.
by Chiara Brunisso, Ilaria Meggetto- photos by Agata Fortunato
In November 2015, Hydroaid – Association devoted to training on water resources and sanitation – led a technical mission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, aimed to carry out research activities in 3 slums of the capital: Addis Ketema, Kirkos e Lideta. This work is part of the Project “Sanitation Daily”, a 5-year initiative coordinated by the NGO Amref Health Africa and co-financed by the European Union.
Established as African Medical and Research Foundation in 1957, Amref is the largest African NGO, with Headquarters is in Kenya and 12 branches in Africa, Europe, Canada and USA. Amref currently operated in 26 Sub-Saharan countries and has 172 projects focused on mothers’ care, children’s rights, prevention of diseases, access to sanitation services, drinking water supply, training of local health operators.
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“Sanitation Daily” is aimed at facilitating the access to hygiene facilities and improving the management of urban solid waste and storm water in Addis Ababa. The explorative mission of November had the goal of collecting elements for developing proposals for a user friendly, labor saving and cost-effective innovative technology that will improve waste collection system in the 3 target areas. For this reason, Hydroaid appointed Agata Fortunato, Head of the Integrated Waste Cycle Office of the Metropolitan City of Turin, and Chiara Brunisso, graduate in Environmental Economy with experience in field data collection in Ethiopia.
The surveys of key locations for collection services and the interviews realized in loco showed a strong contrast between the urban context, characterized by tourism and trade (Addis Ababa is one of the fastest growing cities in Africa, a certain reference for the Sub-Saharan region, and Headquarters of the African Union), and the slums, residential areas characterized by an extremely high demographic density originated by the urbanization flows from the surrounding countryside towards the capital.
Micro-enterprises are in charge of urban waste collection services which they carry out, without distinctions, in both commercial and residential areas. The latter represent a hard task because of difficult access and limited vehicles. Teams of 10-12 members collect waste products door-to-door twice a week from areas including up to 1000 households with an average population density of about 200-300 families per square km. In some areas there is a preliminary segregation of material that could represent a value in the market of reused products. In others, waste sacks are transported – on foot, by cart or with the occasional motorized vehicles provided by this Project - to intermediate transfer zones. Here they operate a general segregation of different materials, mainly plastic (because of the consistent use of bottled water), glass, WEEE, metal and cardboard, which are conveyed for direct sale to Merkato, a large outdoor commercial area – considered the biggest in Easter Africa – employing over 13,000 people. Part of these materials are stored and sold to foreign companies, mainly Chinese, for re cycling purposes.
Besides acquiring information on the current waste collection system of Addis Ababa, the research focused on the working conditions of employees. Even if they do possess some basic equipment for personal protection, operators only wear light tracksuits – partially because of the high temperatures of the dry season – and are constantly exposed to dust, leaks and metals that could be harmful for health. The most burdensome part of their job, they reported, is the lifting of sacks from households to intermediate transfer zones because of the lack of proper vehicles (such as in the case of hand push carts that require the joint effort of three men).
Therefore there is an urgent need for improving the working conditions of the collectors who currently represent a disadvantaged portion of society not only because of the exposure to sanitary hazards, but because of low salaries and social consideration too.