While various activities for ourdifferent utility partners had been planned for the year of 2020, Covid-19 made uspostpone or cancel those plansfor the time being. Luckily, we have not been fully halted!

By the use of the technology this digital era provides us,we have been able to continue our knowledge exchange and collaborative learning processes. In fact, three webinars have already taken place since the start of the year. Five utility partners were actively involved in knowledge-exchange and joint learning: Waternet, PUB, NYCDEP, SIAAP and BWB. Moreover, the webinar with HOFOR and Waternet about thermal energy opened up exciting next opportunities.

Mutual understanding

More concretely, the first webinar, an initiative taken by NYCDEP and organised together with Waternet, took place at the end of May 2020. This specific webinar was on nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. Both utilities shared their work, experiences and obstacles on the topic. This webinar was an illustration of how these two utility parties understand one another’s work and keep each other informed.

Pamela Elardo,deputy commissioner, department of waste water treatment – New York City Department of Environmental Protection. “I am beginning to think of us as an International Committee of Wastewater Resource Recovery Leaders. Not only does that sound good,it really does have meaning for who we are and what we are collaboratively doing together.”

Share ambitions

Following this, a second webinar took place at the end of June 2020. This session was organised by HOFOR Copenhagen and Waternet Amsterdam and revolved around the topic of thermal energy. Both Waternet and HOFOR presented insights into their work, projects and ambitions in regards to energy recovery in the cities of Amsterdam and Copenhagen.

Both utility parties are moving towards sustainable (urban) futures and thus looking for long-term solutions. In fact, the utilities have shared their ambitions in becoming 100% CO2-neutral: HOFOR by 2025 and Waternet by 2020. HOFOR and Waternet strongly believe in the various possibilities that the extraction of thermal energy from the water cycle offer for compensating for the emission of greenhouse gases.

HOFOR presented its ambitions and work in the establishment of heating/cooling district systems, also by using seawater to cool down the water supplied to the customers. Waternet is particularly interested in the circularity of the water: how to extract greengas, biogas and phosphate in traditional wastewater plants. Additionally, Waternet presented the ‘New Sanitation’ programme which aims at maximising the local recovery and reuse of raw materials. Also gray and black waterin households could in the future be transformed into thermal energy.

So many opportunities

Last week, on July 15, the third webinar was held. This webinar was organised once again by NYCDEP and Waternet, but this time on a different topic: resource recovery and sludge treatment. Also SIAAP joined the meeting; unfortunately PUB was unable to attend this webinar due to time difference.

André Struker: “Around 20 people of New York City DEP, Waternet and SIAAP Paris joined the webinar on sludge recovery. The inspiring talk by the resource recovery program manager of NYC DEP Jennifer McDonell showed the opportunities for biosolids and bringing product to the market. Jacqueline de Danschutter and Alex Veltman of Waternet demonstrated in their presentation the policy of Waternet to become climate neutral and the way how to reduce waste streams.  The biogas route, sludge used for agricultural purposes and micro pollutants / PFAS were topics for a follow up. We will share all the slides of our webinars within our group, so we can stay up to date about each other’s actions and progression.”

You can join too!

Are you a public water utility and interested in finding more about this agreement or would you like to know about opportunities to join this community of practice? Please get in touch. You can send an email to André Struker.

Click here to read more about the Amsterdam Utility Agreement and AIWW and the Amsterdam Agreements.