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Thanks to the DENMASS project, InDense will be implemented, a simple and innovative technology that represents an improvement in the operation, effluent quality and the environment.

Palencia WWTP, the first in Europe to become a biofactory to promote zero waste

• The collaboration of the City Council, Aquona, Suez and Cetaqua, its Water Technology Center, has achieved, through the DENMASS project, that the management formula of the capital’s station will become a world benchmark.

• This proposal will promote zero waste in the wastewater treatment process, in addition to improving the quality of the discharge even further.

Palencia is the first European city of more than 10,000 residents to implement in its Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) an innovative technology in full-scale biological wastewater treatment, which will maximize the sustainability, capacity, efficiency and resilience of the purification process. This breakthrough for the city has materialized thanks to the collaboration between the Palencia City Council, Aquona, SUEZ and the Water Technology Center, Cetaqua, for the implementation of this project, called DENMASS. In this way, “the management formula of the capital’s station becomes a world reference point”, explained the Councilor for the Environment, Juan Antonio Marcos at the press conference.

InDense, the name of the implemented technology that has just been launched in Palencia, “only has a partial installation in the WWTP of the French town of Dijon, where the results are being better than initially expected,” said the mayor. The work carried out at the Palencia facility has lasted almost a year, during which time “the plant has not seen its service affected at any time”, he added. Likewise, it is planned to monitor the operation throughout the year, to export the model to other cities, not only in Spain but also in the rest of the world.

Specifically, this innovative project is based on the installation of InDense, which enables the mechanical separation of activated sludge inside the biological reactor and more effective elimination of nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon in the water. This will result in an improvement in the operation of the WWTP itself “because this technology is very simple to operate and, therefore, gives the Palencia plant a competitive advantage over others that use different systems,” said Celia Castro, technical manager of the Biofactory and resource recovery area at Cetaqua. “Another of the benefits revolves around efficiency and sustainability since it promotes zero waste and minimizes the use of external resources, such as, for example, chemical reagents,” Castro added.

Improved discharge quality is another advantage of InDense technology, which also opens the door to the reuse of treated water for irrigating parks and gardens, promoting the circularity of the resources used. Finally, this cutting-edge solution will increase the resilience of the Palencia plant, since “it optimizes the purification process and minimizes the imbalances that may occur in areas with very changeable temperatures, as may be the case in Palencia,” said the head of Cetaqua. In short, it is a “simple and innovative technology that represents a great improvement in the operation, the quality of the effluent and the environment”, she concluded.


DENMASS is the latest technological bet of an ambitious Strategic Plan that Aquona has been developing for several years in the capital. The ultimate goal of this is “to ensure that the entire service is capable of recovering biological waste, self-sufficient in energy and generate zero waste,” explained Aquona’s Director of Operations, José Antonio del Rey, which is technically known as a ‘biofactory’, “to ensure that the service is provided in the best way and at the lowest possible economic and energy cost,” he added. “We are promoting the transformation from the linear to the circular cycle,” said Del Rey.

In this sense, and as is happening now with DENMASS, Aquona has invested in the implementation of the most avant-garde elements in the sector, such as organic filters, the cogeneration plant, solar panels or, more recently, the ECOVAL initiative, which is also led by Cetaqua. Its objective is to obtain resources or products with high added value from the valorization of organic waste generated in urban environments, such as the sludge produced in the WWTP of the capital city of Palencia.

The aim is to show Palencia as a reference in terms of innovative and sustainable management of the water cycle. Therefore, in addition to the improvements already mentioned related to the circular economy and energy self-sufficiency, others such as the naturalization of facilities and the preservation of biodiversity, the protection of the most vulnerable by the hand of entities such as the Red Cross or educational programs of environmental awareness are added.

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