World class sanitation plan rescues the beaches of Montevideo

Montevideo is well-known for its white beaches and vibrant life along them. However, tourists visiting the South American city and its 1.3 million inhabitants haven’t had the same pleasure from the beaches in recent years. Dating back 163 years, the city’s sewage system no longer matched the growing need, which left a significant mark on the city, especially at the beachside. For example, the sewers could not handle the water load after heavy rainfall, leading to industrial and human waste contamination of the coastal area alongside the city. This problem posed a grave concern, not least in relation to public health.

However, this is now being remedied. The beaches are already regaining their attractiveness, because the sewer system is being improved and extended in the largest wastewater project ever undertaken in South America. The project is being handled by the Municipality of Montevideo, and is expected to be in progress until 2035.

“This project is extremely important, particularly because it improves public health as well as the quality of life for the citizens of Montevideo,” says Lucas Blasina, Electromechanical Chief for the sanitation master plan in the municipality.

Pristine beaches and clean water
The benefits of the improved sanitation coverage are not limited to reducing contamination of streams, beaches and Montevideo Bay. The sanitation system is being expanded significantly, providing modernised wastewater infrastructure for all areas of the city. The current stage of the project runs until 2016, and is primarily focused on the sewage network in the south-west part of Montevideo.

“It includes work that will bring a substantial improvement to the environmental quality of the Bay of Montevideo. Pollution from both industrial and domestic origin will be removed, and quality water will be ensured for bathers on the beaches, and for our fellow citizens,” explains Lucas Blasina.

Giant pumps
The extension of the sewage network will make it possible to transport wastewater from the residents’ homes to a new treatment plant and from there out to open waters through an outfall. It is helped along the way by six pumping stations, all exclusively equipped with pumps supplied by Grundfos. Each of the main pumps weighs 10.5 tonnes, has an output of 400 kW, and pumps 880 litres per second.

The project represents the biggest order ever for Grundfos in South America. According to Lucas Blasina, the municipality went for a pump supplier with international brand recognition, experience, and regional as well as a global presence.

“This not only ensures the supplier is capable of meeting the demanding conditions of supply. It also minimizes risks to future, as we can expect an appropriate and timely response,” says Lucas Blasina and elaborates on his experience in working with Grundfos:

“We have established a relationship with a world-class company that satisfactorily meets our requirements related to commissioning and operation during the complete lifetime of the project.”