Veolia launches a programme to boost wastewater reuse in France

A compact wastewater recycling units (Image: Veolia)

As severe droughts become increasingly common and acute in all parts of France, Veolia is committed to protecting water resources through the widespread adoption of industrial ecology solutions. The group intends to implement wastewater reuse at all wastewater treatment plants it operates, where volumes used are sufficient1, by installing compact wastewater recycling units.

Initially, recycled wastewater will replace the drinking water needed to operate and maintain wastewater treatment plants. In time, and subject to gaining necessary authorisations, its use can be extended to include a number of industrial and agricultural applications such as irrigation and road cleaning; helping farmers, municipalities and industrial customers to reduce their use of drinking water.

The group is identifying eligible wastewater treatment plants for the installation of this system, and has decided to manufacture 30 of these units. The overall potential could be as many as 100 sites, representing a saving of about three million cubic metres (m3) of drinking water, equivalent to the average annual consumption of a city with 180,000 inhabitants.

Developed by Veolia, the recycling unit is a compact version of a drinking water treatment plant. Equipped with a two-stage filtration system, it produces water from treated wastewater. Its reduced footprint meets the technical constraints of industrial sites, and makes installation and commissioning easier and faster.

Pilot units have already been installed in France, at wastewater treatment plants in the cities of Rodez and Narbonne, saving respectively 18,000 and 15,000m3 of drinking water every year. 

Pierre Ribaute, CEO of Veolia’s water activities in France, saod: “The technology of reusing treated wastewater has tremendous potential in France,  especially in the context of resource scarcity and increasingly severe drought conditions across the country. At Veolia, we believe in this solution and we are already actively involved in pioneering initiatives such as the Jourdain project in the Vendée region, under the management of Vendée Eau. We have now decided to launch this innovative approach at wastewater treatment plants we operate, to uptake at scale of a highly promising solution.”

Proven and reliable, treated wastewater technology has been deployed in Europe and around the world for a number of years. It has great potential in France, where the rate of wastewater reuse is currently below 1%. With its knowledge in the field of wastewater reuse, Veolia is accelerating the roll out of experiments and pilots for both industrial and domestic uses, such as the Jourdain program, which will secure supplies of drinking water for the Vendée‘s inhabitants in the near future.


1 Consumption of more than 2,000m3 of drinking water and/or 5,000m3 of water taken directly from the resource.