LIFE RAMSES - Enhanced Reclaimed wAter quality through MainStream anaErobic treatment using Supported biomass growth.

LIFE14 ENV/ES/000621

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

Contact details:

Contact person: Paula Perez
Tel: 34933351500
Fax: 933356021
Email: paula.perez.sanchez@acciona.com

Project description:


According to a recent United Nations’ report, the percentage of appropriated water has risen by up to 30% in recent years: the consumption of water per capita increases (due to the improvement of living standards), the population grows and as a result, the amount of available water is less than the overall demand. Some regions of the European Union, especially in the Mediterranean area, have an unbalanced geographical distribution of water resources.

Furthermore, the volume of wastewater is also increasing by six to seven per cent in Europe. Treated wastewater contains large amounts of organic matter, nitrogen, phosphorus and other micronutrients that were it to be directly discharged could cause eutrophication and a reduction of the dissolved oxygen levels in surface waters leading to a decline in biodiversity. Similarly, the output water from wastewater treatment plants contains a high concentration of pathogenic microorganisms that prevents re-use in certain areas.

European water legislation, in particular the Water Framework Directive, emphasises the need to include in legislation tools for addressing the problem of water shortage and possible solutions, such as the promotion of efficient technologies for obtaining treated water of sufficient quality for re-use in high-value applications.

In Spain re-used water accounts for only a small percentage of the total Spanish water demand, but in some areas, such as the Canary Islands, Murcia and Valencia, this percentage is much higher, indicating that water has become a strategic non-conventional resource.


LIFE RAMSES aims to demonstrate a water treatment process that enhances the quality of reclaimed water, thus enabling it to be re-used for irrigation and agricultural purposes. The proposed process consists of an anaerobic digestion phase using supported biomass growth followed by biological treatment. In order to improve the overall sustainability, the project will couple a co-digestion process using organic residues from regional agro-food industries (mainly canned food industries) to the anaerobic reactor. This phase will improve the biogas production and contribute to achieving a self-sufficient energy process.

The project will be carried out in a new scalable pilot plant of 300 m3 capacity to be constructed in the wastewater treatment plant (WTTP) of the municipality of Blanca (Murcia, Spain). Blanca’s WWTP is designed to treat 2 000 m3/day, serving a population of 8 570 inhabitants.

Expected results:

  • Improved quality of treated water, thus increasing the amount of reclaimed water available for re-use and reducing the amount that it is discharged – more than 90% of the organic matter and suspended solids of the wastewater are removed before the biological treatment;
  • A 30 % reduction in the current volume of sludge produced in the biological treatment, and an increase in the value of this sludge (currently considered waste) enabling its re-use as fertiliser due to its high organic content;
  • Improved stability of the process by means of using supported biomass growth;
  • A 25% decrease in the volume of the reactor in newly built facilities, as the amount of biomass involved in the process (for the same volume) is increased and highly specialised;
  • Reduced CO2 emissions since the biogas produced by co-digestion is used to cover the energy demand of the WWTP;
  • A 50% cost reduction of treated wastewater (per m3) due to a reduction in energy consumption, a better strategy for sludge management and the lack of any further chemical treatment (coagulation, flocculation) once reclaimed water is produced in the biological treatment;
  • A strategy for managing organic waste from nearby industries (canned food industries) to facilitate the co-digestion process;
  • Guidelines for full-plant design with RAMSES technology;
  • A report on the environmental and socio-economic benefits of the project; and
  • Awareness of the project and the transfer of knowledge and best practices to stakeholders.



Environmental issues addressed:


Water - Waste water treatment


waste water treatment‚  biomass energy‚  agricultural waste

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)
  • Waste
  • Directive 1999/31 - Landfill of waste (26.04.1999)
  • Directive 2008/98 - Waste and repealing certain Directives (Waste Framework Directive) (19.11.200 ...
  • Climate Change & Energy efficicency
  • Directive 2009/28 - Promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (23.04.2009)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator ACCIONA AGUA, S.A.U.
Type of organisation Large enterprise
Description ACCIONA Agua is one of the world’s leading companies in the water treatment sector. It has the ability to design, construct and operate drinking water treatment plants, residual purification plants, tertiary treatment plants for re-use and reverse-osmosis desalination plants. ACCIONA Agua is committed to innovation and the application of the latest technologies, together with ensuring water quality is maintained in all areas.
Partners ESAMUR(Entidad de Saneamiento y Depuración de la Región de Murcia), Spain


Project reference LIFE14 ENV/ES/000621
Duration 16-JUL-2015 to 15-JUL -2018
Total budget 1,158,391.00 €
EU contribution 694,906.00 €
Project location Murcia(España)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website


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