Achieving wider uptake of water-smart solutions


Water Reuse from Treated Wastewater

UnipaGreen – WaterSmart is the project in the project. A plant will be implemented with the final aim of making Water Smart the University of Palermo Campus, based on the principles of circular economy (reduce water use, resource recover, reduce economic investments for irrigation…). Wastewater produced within the Campus will be treated by adopting innovative technologies and reused for irrigating the green urban areas of the Campus. The scheme designing has been performed under the collaboration of two departments of the University of Palermo (Engineering and Agricultural, Food and Forest Sciences), AMAP SPA which is the manager of the integrated water service in the Metropolitan City of Palermo and the expertise of the Horizon2020 Wider-UPTAKE project. The core idea behind the project was to maximize the water reuse while minimizing the energy consumption with the adoption of advanced technologies. During the design and planning stage, several procedural (administrative and authorizations) challenges have been faced, since the Campus is located within “Fossa della Garofala”, a 15 hectares protect urban park of XV century.

Wastewater Reuse Plant Scheme

The UnipaGreen – WaterSmart plant treats the wastewater produced from the dormitory and the cafeteria located within the Campus of the University of Palermo. In terms of quality, the wastewater has typical features of civil wastewater. In terms of quantity, typical diurnal fluctuations of civil wastewater characterize the produced wastewater. During the periods of the year when the dormitory and the cafeteria are closed, the production of wastewater is almost null, making it necessary to accumulate wastewater (required to feed the treatment plant) and treated water (required to guarantee the irrigation of the green urban areas of the Campus).

The plant scheme is highly innovative and is composed of: i. pumping station, equipped with Remote Terminal Unit (RTU) that allows to monitor the station from a centralized control room with SCADA (Supervisory Control & Data Acquisition) systems; ii. pressing pipeline from the sewer point to the wastewater treatment point; iii. wastewater treatment plant, equipped with an ultrafiltration membrane; iv. wastewater accumulation tank; v. treated water accumulation tanks; vi. distribution pipeline, equipped with automatic controller.

The pumping station has been designed in order to deviate (from the sewer system) and transport the wastewater from the quote 36.5 m AMSL to the quote 44 AMSL.

The project wastewater flow rate of the pumping station is 2 L/sec. Three Flygt MP 3069 HT 250 submersible pumps 2.4 kW will be adopted equipped with a SCADA control system for the remote control. The diameter and the length of the pressing pipeline are 50 mm and 534 m, respectively.

The wastewater treatment, designed for treating the maximum flow rate of 20 L/h, has an innovative scheme which couples two key environmental focus: 1) producing water to be used for irrigation; 2) reducing the amount of waste sludge. In particular, the wastewater treatment plant has a pre-denitrification scheme (anoxic and aerobic reactors) with a hollow fibre membrane (MBR) for the solid-liquid separation, this latter guarantees the production of water to be reused. In the returned activated sludge (from the MBR to the anoxic reactor) an oxic - settling anaerobic (OSA) reactor is inserted in view of reducing the waste sludge production. The wastewater accumulation tank has 1200 L volume


  • Reducing environmental impact

  • Eliminating the need to transport water

  • Reduced demands and stress of fresh water supply

  • Improving sustainability

  • Avoiding expensive non-compliance fees

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 869283