October's top stories: San Antonio approves water pipeline, Thames super-sewer in legal row

San Antonio City Council approved a contract with Vista Ridge Consortium for the construction of a 142-mile pipeline, which will transport water from Burleson County to the city in Texas, US.

San Antonio

San Antonio City Council in US approves 142-mile water pipeline project

San Antonio Water Pipe

San Antonio City Council approved a contract with Vista Ridge Consortium for the construction of a 142-mile pipeline, which will transport water from Burleson County to the city in Texas, US.

Through this pipeline, San Antonio Water System (SAWS) will bring 16.3 billion gallons of new non-Edwards Aquifer water per year over the next 30 years.

Abengoa and BlueWater Systems formed the Vista Ridge Consortium, and were allocated 30 months to arrange funds for the construction of the project.

The consortium is expected to complete the project within 42 months.

Thames super-sewer project faces judicial challenges in UK

Thames Super Sewer

The £4bn Thames Tideway Tunnel (TTT) project in the UK faced legal challenges after environmental group Thames Blue-Green Economy and Southwark Council sought a judicial review of the approval of the project.

Thames Blue-Green Economy said the approval of the project by the UK Government breaches the norm of public participation under European and British law.

In September, Thames Water was granted approval to start building London's super-sewer project, aiming to address the sewage pollution in the tidal River Thames.

The project involves construction of a 25km-long tunnel under the Thames, in order to eliminate combined sewer overflows (CSO) that contaminate the river water during heavy rainfall.

San Francisco completes $288m Bay Tunnel project

Bay Tunnel

San Francisco completed a $288m seismically resistant underground tunnel under San Francisco Bay to provide reliable water supply to the US city.

Bay Tunnel started delivering drinking water from Hetch Hetchy reservoir to Crystal Springs Reservoir.

The pipe is five miles long with a nine-foot diameter and runs around 75ft-100ft below the sand and silt of the Bay from Newark to Palo Alto.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission's (SFPUC) tunnel replaces two aging pipelines that leaked millions of gallons of water into the Bay, and opened for service after weeks of testing and disinfection.

GE launches new membrane technology to produce energy from wastewater


GE launched anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR) technology to generate renewable energy from wastewater.

The company combined anaerobic digestion technology with its ZeeWeed 500 membranes to develop the system.

According to GE, the new membrane delivers better performance at lower costs with the ability to generate renewable energy from industrial wastewater. It produces less sludge during the process.

The AnMBR technology can be a cost-effective alternative for industrial wastewaters with high biochemical oxygen demand and chemical oxygen demand concentrations.

Veolia secures €390m industrial water treatment contracts in China

French water company Veolia Environnement won two industrial water treatment contracts from Tangshan Iron & Steel (TIS), a subsidiary of Chinese steelmaker Hebei Iron & Steel group, with a combined value of €390m.

Under the contract, Veolia will build a wastewater treatment facility and recycle and cool water for a coking plant and a gas-liquefaction plant owned by TIS.

Veolia will also operate the wastewater treatment unit and the water cooling and recycling equipment for 30 years.

The industrial projects in Hebei province are strategically located in a significant economic corridor linking two major regions of north-east and north China.

Hitachi, Veolia and ArabCo consortium wins $223m EPC contract for Iraq desalination plant

A consortium of Japan's Hitachi, French company Veolia and Egyptian engineering firm ArabCo won a JPY24bn ($223m) order from the Iraqi Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works for the construction of pretreatment facilities at a desalination plant in Basrah.

As part of the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract, development works for the facility are set to start in October 2014, likely to be completed by April 2017.

The deal for the pretreatment facilities includes works for surrounding services, such as the river water intake provision and water transport facilities.

The government of Japan offered loan assistance for the construction of the facilities.

Suez Environnement to construct two desalination and wastewater treatment facilities in Middle East

French utility company Suez Environnement's subsidiary Degrémont secured two contracts to build two wastewater and desalination projects in the Middle East.

The firm was selected by Hyundai Engineering & Construction to design, construct and operate a desalination plant located at the new Mirfa Independent Water and Power Project (Mirfa IWPP) in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Mirfa IWPP project is being implemented by Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA).

The €146m contract includes €117m for the design and construction of a reverse osmosis (RO) seawater desalination plant.

Following the construction, the company will operate and maintain the RO plant for seven years for €29m.

USDA to provide $352m for rural water infrastructure

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide more than $352m in loans and grants to upgrade and improve water and wastewater systems in the country, and in rural Alaska villages.

Approximately $175m will be offered as loans by USDA, while $165m will be provided in the form of grants through the federal Water and Environmental Program.

US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said: "These investments are critical for our health and safety, and in the long term for sustainable economic development.

"Investments like these in the nation's water infrastructure also are critical to address the impact of climate change on our water supplies."