Site Visits

All technical visits will take place on 29 September, scheduled according to the time slot assigned to each one. Each technical visit will be limited to a maximum number of participants who must thus enrol in advance for each visit. All technical visits include return transportation between Porto and the site to be visited.

Organization

Águas do Porto, EM

Description of the visit

Águas do Porto is responsible for the integrated and sustainable management of the urban water cycle in the city of Porto. The company works in the following areas: water supply, wastewater drainage and treatment, storm water drainage, management of watercourses and coastal areas (beaches), environmental education and public participation.

The visit includes

The first part of the visit will be to the Nova Sintra Water Tank and Pumping Station. With a capacity of 45,000 cubic metres. This is the water supply system’s largest pumping station built in 1929.

The Freixo Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) is the second stop on the visit. This innovative WWTP is ideally located in an urban area landscaped with vegetation cover. The plant provides tertiary water treatment.

The third part of the visit will be to the Ouro Shone Ejector, which was built in 1903 and is a strategic point in the city´s wastewater system. This visit will allow us to study the oldest technology used in the system.

The fourth stop on the visit is to the Granja Stream, the city’s largest watercourse. This urban stream, which has undergone various rehabilitations, makes a major environmental contribution to Porto’s urban area.

This visit ends at a 4-km strip of seafront where 4 bathing areas have evolved (8 Blue Flag beaches). These beaches attract bathers and visitors from across the municipality and have become major tourist attractions.

What is innovative about it?

Águas do Porto applies the concept of Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD), as required by the City Council. This is an innovative approach that supports healthy ecosystems, lifestyles and livelihoods through sustainable management of all the city’s waters.

The Águas do Porto innovation strategy is supported by Big Data and Analytics, Mobility and Cloud solutions. Currently, the Innovation Unit is running 12 innovation projects linked to smart management, smart grids and smart metering, IT applications and e-infrastructures.

Location, time and accessibility

Meeting point: Barão de Nova Sintra Street (Águas do Porto building)

Duration: 4 hours

Organization

Águas de Portugal Group

Description of the visit

Situated on the left bank of the Douro River, the Lever complex is one of the finest structures of its kind in Europe and is much sought after as a site for research and development projects in the field of water treatment technologies. The complex has so far attracted numerous international technical delegations and is equally open to civil society through its state-of-the-art Environmental Education Centre.

The Lever WTP (Water Treatment Plant) produces an average of 270,000 cubic metres per day, to supply a total of 1.39 million people in Greater Porto and parts of the Vale do Sousa region.

The visit includes

The Lever complex includes a surface water catchment installation, a reservoir for raw water and another for treated water, a pre-treatment unit, a water treatment plant (WTP), a sludge treatment unit, two electrical substations, two pumping stations and three deep wells.

What is innovative about it?

This sophisticated set of water treatment technologies has an excellent environmental performance and, in physical terms, it has been perfectly integrated with the surrounding landscape.

The Lever complex is a one-of-a-kind infrastructure in Portugal, insofar as it combines surface water treatment with deep ground water abstraction in a sandy riverbed (at a depth of 25 metres). The surface water treatment has a number of unique features, such as the removal of solids at the pre-treatment stage, high-speed ozone injection and simultaneous flotation and filtration

Location, time and accessibility

During the visit, participants will be accompanied by a technician from the WTP operations staff and will have the opportunity to see the whole facility from the water inlet to the final effluent. Participants will see the changes in water quality across the water treatment process (duration 60-90 minutes).

Visitors will attend a presentation of the Lever WTP (demo sites visit duration: 60-90 min). The number of attendees is limited to 25, to ensure there is ample opportunity for technical discussion and an exchange of experiences. The bus journey from the venue to the WTP takes less than half an hour.

Organization

Águas de Portugal Group

Description of the visit

The Ilhavo and Cacia WWTPs, located in the Ria de Aveiro region, just to the south of Porto, were used as case studies for an R&D project that has been developed by Porto's Higher Institute of Engineering (ISEP). This project, based, amongst other things, on a student's master’s thesis, aims to apply artificial neural networks to the optimization of anaerobic digestions in treatment plants. The overall objective is to maximise the increase in production and/or quality of the biogas generated by these anaerobic digestions and, so, generate more electricity from this fuel. A new approach is underway for 201 and it is hoped that this will result in better advantage being taken of the features of the biogas produced.

The two treatment plants are medium-sized and include, in the solid phase, an anaerobic digestion stage with two digesters each and the respective equipment necessary for the heating of sludge and production of electricity. Together, they have made an outstanding contribution to the marked improvement seen in the Ria de Aveiro since the beginning of the last decade. Today, the lagoon is in a much better condition, thanks to the integrated system of sanitation that is mainly based on these two WWTPs. For all these reasons, the operations teams have been putting a lot of work into the different forms of research and collaboration they do with academic institutions. This work focuses on management efficiency and the reduction of operating costs for these infrastructures. Both WWTPs are near Porto and motorway access is good. Although the Ílhavo WWTP is located a little further away, it has the additional attraction of an innovative biogas treatment system and is, therefore, ideal for a visit focused on innovation.

The Ílhavo WWTP is located in the parish of Gafanha da Encarnação (Ílhavo municipality) and has been designed to treat 39,278 m3 per day of urban wastewater produced in the municipalities of Aveiro, Cantanhede, Ílhavo, Vagos and Mira (159,700 HE).

The plant, which cost around 14 million euros, has been in operation since August 2002 and plays a key role in the treatment of industrial wastewater produced in the region.

The treatment at the Ílhavo WWTP is secondary, and the treated wastewater is discharged into the Atlantic Ocean through the São Jacinto Submarine Pipeline (Aveiro). The plant also includes, as mentioned above, anaerobic digestion of sludge and cogeneration.

The visit includes

Ílhavo WWTP

Cacia WWTP

What is innovative about it?

Demonstration sites in the area of anaerobic digestion, particularly with regard to:

  • Biogas treatment through a biological percolation bed;
  • Optimization of anaerobic digestion by neural networks: Neural AD.

Ferric chloride is added to the mixed sludge (before shipping to digestion) to control the hydrogen sulphide concentration in the biogas. The final treatment of the biogas is carried out in 2 sets of chemical odour treatment scrubbers that have been adapted to act as biological percolation beds. Both the application of scientific knowledge and the efficient use of available resources at the WWTP have meant that out-of-service equipment now has a new use. The facility has been operating since 2013, with excellent hydrogen sulphide removal efficiency rates. This has meant that less ferric chloride needs to be used in the initial stage.

The Neural AD (Neural Networks + Anaerobic Digestion) project, involving ISEP and Águas do Centro Litoral (AdCL) (a subsidiary of AdP), has been in development since 2013. This is applied R&D with artificial neural networks being used to optimise anaerobic sludge digestion. The research has resulted in better prediction of the behaviour of the process under different conditions. This, in turn, has led to maximised energy recovery from the biogas produced in the sludge digestion project generated in the WWTP. The methodology was applied in 3 AdCL WWTPs (Cacia, Espinho and Ílhavo) and is still evolving. Initially designed in 2013 by Águas de Portugal (AdP) and ISEP, in the second year of development the Technical Higher Institute (IST), the Faculty of Science and Technology of Lisbon's Nova University, and the University Minho joined the project, by running case studies at other AdP Group WWTPs.

The Neural AD project won an International WEX Global Awards 2015 award, in the ‘Water and Energy’ category.

Location, time and accessibility

During the visit, participants will be accompanied by technicians from the WWTP operations staff and by the department coordinator responsible for the infrastructure operation, as well as a management representative. They will have the opportunity to see the whole facility from the water inlet to the final effluent, giving them the possibility of networking, at the same time, with the staff. Participants will see the changes in water quality across the water treatment process and the relation between the water treatments and the production of sludge and energy (duration 60-90 minutes).

Moreover, visitors will attend a presentation of the Neural AD project and biogas treatment and the applied results at the Ílhavo WWTP (demo sites visit duration: 60-90 min). The maximum number of attendees is 25, to ensure there is ample opportunity for technical discussion and an exchange of experiences. The facility is not adapted to people with reduced mobility. The participants will get to the WWTP by bus.