Aguas Claras is working on cleaning the Medellin River


Three cubic meters of treated wastewater per second began to stabilize the Aguas Claras cleaning plant at Bello.

This project, with nearly 1.6 billion investment, sought to reduce the organic load absorbed by the Medellin River through the Aburrá valley.

Plant construction is already 95% progress and the four treatment lines, two of which are already in operation, will be fully operational in the first quarter of 2019.

The remaining 5% of the construction corresponds to the urban landscape and some unfinished finishing works.

"The treatment started on October 20. As far as more than 25 tonnes of this material has been removed today, when Aguas Claras is 100%, this number will contain 120 tonnes of organic fertilizer per day," he said. Adriana María Londoño, Director of the Aguas de Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM).

Aguas Claras contributes 50% to reducing the pollution in the Medellin River and adds 25% of the San Fernando plant in operation in 2000, with a full reduction of 75%.

Together, both plants elevate the level of dissolved oxygen in the Medellin River, averaging 5 mg / l, characterized by a decontaminated stream.

The EPM has already studied the possibility of creating such systems for the villages of Barbosa and Girardota to contribute to the de-pollution of water resources.

EPM CEO, Jorge Londoño De la Cuesta, He said, "We will have a secondary treatment to remove dissolved pollutants from the sewage and after this process is returned to the Medellin River."

This starts from collecting wastewater from the houses and canals of the city. Emissions from most of the Aburrá Valley are captured through discharge channels, avoiding direct placement in the Medellin valleys.

Thereafter, wastewater is carried out by two crossings running parallel to both sides of the river in the Moravian neighborhood, just 8 kilometers from the Aguas Claras power plant, pipes 2, 4 in diameter.

Finally they get to the plant where the entire treatment process begins. From that time, the direct emissions of the main sources of water from the Aburrá valley ceased.

After receiving the wastewater from the city, the plant will begin the treatment process through this water through through filters up to 8 millimeters in which large amounts of solid waste will enter the river beds. sewage system.

Thereafter, the extraction of solid waste, the introduction of particle size, in which sand permanently deposited in sandy landfills is removed into the water.

Aguas Claras has a modern drying system, a unique tool in the country that allows sludge to dry up by 90%, optimizing the final disposal of waste.

The process ends with the return of water to the river, under optimal hygiene conditions through the outflow channel the plant has.

However, according to Adriana Londoño, the system does not guarantee a significant physical change in the biological state of the river. "Restoring the river in its original state is the dream of the whole region, a task that takes many years to work here. With this equipment we can not guarantee that these are the original conditions, but it is very important to have high oxygen levels."

Residents living in the area around the wastewater treatment plant complained of the strong smells they felt at certain times of the day. They expressed dissatisfaction with the reports and comments of EPM social networks in the plagues of Aguas Claras inside and outside.

The company replies that "as long as the plant stabilization is completed, some temporary discomforts will arise in the neighborhood, which disappears when fully operational."

Carlos Enrique Muñoz, The EPM Director of the Wastewater Treatment Plant said that "we have been campaigning for socializing with the community to tell them about the stages of the process, and that the smells are coming to an end when it's fully operational," said the manager.

The sewage treatment plant has a ventilation system and air purification that allows full activation is solved at the same time, the problems of bad smells that had to face the project's neighbors.

Building delays and delays are one of the challenges the plant would have to undertake. The works started in September 2012 and ended in 2015. Muñoz attributed the delay of the investment to the project partners.


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