SHOWW - SHOWW - puShing aHead with field implementatiOn of best fitting Wastewater treatment and management solutions

LIFE10 INF/IT/000282

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Contact details:

Contact person: Riccardo GORI
Tel: +39 055 4796317
Fax: +39 055 495333
Email: Riccardo.Gori@dicea.unifi.it

Project description:


Since wastewater treatment processes require large investments, it is very important that up-to-date, appropriate and viable solutions be implemented. Failing to do so delays the reduction of environmental pressure and results in ineffective use of taxpayers’ money. Previous LIFE projects identified a wide range of available innovative solutions, but a poor knowledge of their results and lessons learnt had created a barrier to their understanding, as well as to their possible adoption and penetration in the market.


Building on the experiences and lessons learnt of previous LIFE wastewater treatment projects, the SHOWW project aimed to lower barriers so as to allow innovative, viable and appropriate treatment solutions to become feasible investment choices.

Specific project objectives were to:

  • Facilitate the dissemination and replication of wastewater treatment and management solutions that had already proved successful in previous LIFE projects;
  • Increase knowledge and awareness about these solutions among policy-, decision- and opinion-makers, technical and industrial advisors, professionals and consultants in both the municipal and industrial wastewater treatment sectors;
  • Provide an interactive environment where proven solutions could interface with needs and expectations, individualising the best fitting solutions to connect LIFE outcomes with emerging needs and requirements; and
  • Increase compliance with regulatory constraints set out by European environmental legislation, thus contributing to and enabling the implementation of the EU Water Framework-, Urban Wastewater- and Waste directives.


The SHOWW project was implemented overall, as expected and all the technical activities were concluded in a satisfactory way, with positive results. For specific themes and/or sectors, priority was given to aspects such as the inclusion of techniques developed, results and lessons learnt from a significant number of LIFE success stories. The project also contributed to further leverage the investments made by European taxpayers and by the LIFE Programme in "environmental" initiatives, because it encouraged the implementation of solutions already identified and demonstrated as viable.

The initial step was to investigate the actual needs, requirements, upgrading requests experienced by all the operators involved in the wastewater field (technical, managerial, planning strategies, etc.). Six groups of people interested in the knowledge of innovative LIFE solutions for wastewater treatment and management were identified. These were: service providers; technology providers; public administrators; researchers and environmental engineering firms; NGOs and environmental associations; and industries. An Italian interest group was formed made up of representatives of these six identified sectors. Its aim was to advise and propose ideas that would be useful to the implementation of the project. Then, 12 interviews were conducted in order to collect information about the real needs of all those involved in the water purification field. With the support of the interest groups and the responses to the interviews, a questionnaire was designed and distributed using an open source web application. Questionnaire surveys were completed by 202 interviewees.

In the same way, seven interviews were conducted among Spanish stakeholders and two focus groups were organised at the University of Girona. The first focus group discussed the main problems and challenges in wastewater treatment and management in Catalonia and Spain; while the second discussed the technology transfer between academia and industry, the main constraints for the implementation of innovative and new technologies, and the application and dissemination of the SHOWW approach. Using the information gathered through the interviews and the focus groups, a questionnaire was prepared and sent to stakeholders related to wastewater treatment and management. In the Spanish case, 130 questionnaires were completed.

The responses available from the Italian and Spanish questionnaires were analysed, and the main topics that needed the introduction of new technological solutions on wastewater treatment and management, were identified. The results obtained allowed the setting up of the SHOWW Knowledge Base (SHOWW KB) which collected the best LIFE solutions identified (http://www.stlab.dsi.unifi.it/carepedia/home.seam). Among 162 LIFE projects identified, 95 were selected for consultation free-of-charge. The complete list of projects can be viewed only through the registration at SHOWW KB.

Thanks to the extensive dissemination activities carried out throughout Italy and Spain, the project results can be easily transferred to other areas, ongoing improvements of the database, and the actual adoption of innovative wastewater treatment solutions have all been facilitated. More than 400 people involved and/or interested in wastewater treatment processes and technologies, participated in five thematic workshops organised in various Italian cities and in Girona (Spain). The aim was to disseminate existing innovative solutions to the operators of WWTPs, technology providers, self-employed professionals and public administrations. Main issues addressed concerned:

  • Treatment and disposal of sludge;
  • Treatment of industrial wastewater and the removal of priority contaminants;
  • Technology innovation in wastewater treatment and management;
  • Improvement of energy efficiency in wastewater treatment plants;
  • Reuse of reclaimed wastewater;
  • Solutions for wastewater treatment and management in small wastewater treatment plants; and
  • Nutrient removal and recovery.

The transfer of the best LIFE solutions was done mainly through visits carried out at the WWTPs and industrial firms interested in analysing purification aspects in depth and in learning more about the innovative solutions tested in other contexts. SHOWW promoters, hired for this very aim, in just 18 months, contacted more than 200 subjects by phone or email, and held more than 90 meetings by directly visiting the companies or within trade fair events. The issues that attracted the greatest interest concerned energy efficiency of aeration systems, reduction of sludge production, the Anammox treatment, and the production of biomethane.

The project’s results were disseminated via the following means: publications in scientific and news articles (more than 18 national and international journals); 12 video interviews given by environmental experts; social media, such as on Facebook and Twitter (more than 700 contacts); and mailing lists.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).


Environmental issues addressed:


Information - Governance - Awareness raising - Information
Water - Waste water treatment


environmental awareness‚  waste water treatment‚  technology transfer

Target EU Legislation

  • Water
  • Directive 91/271 - Urban waste water treatment (21.05.1991)
  • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile e Ambientale
Type of organisation University
Description Since its foundation in 1981, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of the University of Florence (UNIFI-DICEI), has carried out academic and research activities in the fields of structural engineering, hydraulic engineering, environmental engineering, building design, transportation engineering and topography, geotechnics, applied geology and geophysics. The department has 10 specialised laboratories, including two labs run in collaboration with industrial partners that enable chemical, biological and bio-chemical analysis of water and wastewater.
Partners UTILITATIS, Italy Physis Srl, Italy Universitat de Girona (UDG), Spain


Project reference LIFE10 INF/IT/000282
Duration 01-SEP-2011 to 31-DEC -2014
Total budget 1,432,211.00 €
EU contribution 716,105.00 €
Project location Toscana(Italia)


Read more:

Leaflet "Il progetto dei progetti SHOWW: Analisi dello sta ...
Leaflet "Il progetto dei progetti SHOWW: Le migliori soluz ...
Newsletter "Il progetto dei progetti SHOWW: Newsletter 3" (89 ...
Newsletter "Il progetto dei progetti SHOWW: Newsletter 5" (1. ...
Newsletter "Il progetto dei progetti SHOWW: Newsletter 6" (92 ...
Newsletter "Il progetto dei progetti SHOWW: Newsletter 4" (1. ...
Newsletter "Il progetto dei progetti SHOWW: Newsletter 2" (61 ...
Newsletter "Il progetto dei progetti SHOWW: Newsletter 1" (82 ...
Poster "Il progetto dei progetti SHOWW" (226 KB)
Project web site Project's website
Project web site - 2 Project's Facebook page
Publication: After-LIFE Communication Plan After-LIFE Communication Plan
Publication: Layman report Layman report


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version