Agreement between CSIC and the Aguas Costa Brava Girona Consortium for scientific research collaboration

The objective of this collaboration agreement is to develop joint research programs, and to exchange information related to treatment, quality monitoring and water management. An action planned within the framework of the agreement is the RESTORA project at the Palamós Treatment Plant, where an experimental pilot area has been installed to investigate new processes to improve the recharge of aquifers.

Pilot area at the Palamós Treatment Plant, formed up by different soil tanks that simulate recharge natural processes and that receive the effluent of the secondary treatment from the Treatment Plant.CSIC, through the Institute for Environmental Diagnosis and Water Studies (IDAEA, by its Spanish acronym), and the Aguas Costa Brava Girona Consortium have signed a collaboration agreement to develop research projects in the field of treatment, quality monitoring and water management.

The agreement establishes both the coordination guidelines in activities related to scientific research and technological development, and the desire for mutual advice and information exchange, in order to improve the treatment processes applied to water, the water quality monitoring, and the innovations in the field of detection and characterization of polluting substances.

This agreement allows IDAEA-CSIC to develop experimental and technological research in the water treatment facilities of the Aguas Costa Brava Girona Consortium, including access to services, the sampling and the availability of operational data. On the other hand, the Consortium will have access to all the information obtained in the research.

The president of the Diputació de Girona and the Aguas Costa Brava Girona Consortium, Miquel Noguer, considers that “collaboration with research centers on water issues was and is a strategic line of the Consortium to advance knowledge and be able to offer the highest quality service to the coastal and pre-coastal municipalities of Girona.”

The agreement is valid for four years and could be extended if both parties agree.

The Palamós treatment plant in the RESTORA project

An action planned within the framework of this agreement is the development of the RESTORA project at the Palamós Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The project is promoted by the research centre IDAEA-CSIC and counts with the participation of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and the University of Barcelona. The project is funded by the Catalan Water Agency.

Within the framework of the project, an experimental field will be enabled at the Palamós Treatment Plant to investigate the recharge of managed aquifers and the use of organic substrates to accelerate the renaturation of water with optimal quality in terms of pollutants (organic matter and pathogens), emerging organic compounds (EOC), microplastics or antibiotic resistance genes (ARG).

The pilot area will consist of different tanks filled with soil, which simulate natural recharge processes and which receive the effluent from the secondary treatment of the purification station. At the same time, column experiments will be developed to study in detail some processes that govern the fate of emerging organic compounds, antibiotic resistance genes and microplastics in the subsoil. The project is expected to last until 2022.

In this same station, specific collaborations had already been carried out between the Consortium and the IDAEA-CSIC, such as the experiments of the ACWAPUR, ROUSSEAU and MARADENTRO research projects, focused on the reuse of water for agricultural irrigation and to recharge aquifers with water renatured with reactive barriers.

Silvia Díaz-Cruz, researcher at the IDAEA-CSIC and coordinator of the ROUSSEAU and MARADENTRO projects, explains that "guaranteeing access to quality water to irrigate crops for human consumption, for drinking water and to increase underground water reserves is key to fight global climate change.”