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URBANBAT - Integral waste management model for urban transport infraestructure

LIFE03 ENV/E/000160

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Jesús HERRERO GAMÓN
Tel: 96 34 3158500
Fax: 96 34 3924998

Project description:


Despite the manifest environmental benefits of public transit, the daily or periodic maintenance operations of an urban bus transport fleet in a large city such as Valencia can itself be damaging in terms of the effluents released. For bodywork, the washing water, containing low quantities of oils and fats with low COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) values - the amount of oxygen in mg/l required to oxidise both organic and oxidisable inorganic compounds)is 125 mg/l. However colour and odour emissions do not permit its reuse. The motor washing water has similar characteristics, as well as solvents. Their emulsified oil content is higher and its COD is around 2,500 mg/l. Glycol refrigeration fluids are filled with radiator and distribution conduit dirt. Their COD is 500,000 mg/l. If cleaning takes place after draining, the COD of radiatorcleaning water is around 10,000 mg/l. Without prior draining, its COD is between 80,000 and 100,000 mg/l. Flat-battery acids contain 15-20% sulphuric acid and dissolved lead in a colloidal state, accumulated during the running down process. Brake fluids have very high COD levels (1,500,000 mg/l). Their degradation is the consequence of an accumulation of substances in suspension, metals and waters. Despite the multifarious above concerns, recycling practices to prolong the life-cycle of the effluents generated are unheard of in the public transport sector.


The project aimed to introduce technologies such as ultrafiltration, microfiltration, vacuum evaporation, and electrolysis, which, despite already being well known and applied in other areas, are unfamiliar in the transport sector. Through the transfer and application of best available technologies (BATs), the project hoped to define a waste management model for the majority of liquid residuals generated in the maintenance and operation of a fleet of public transit vehicles. The management strategy for these residuals was to consist of both a reduction in environmental hazards and an increase of their life-span. This was to take place at the very point of generation, thus minimising the need for external management. Specifically, the project planned to address problems caused by cab washing waters, motor washing waters, waters from rinsing cooling circuits, cooling fluids, brake fluids, and acids from exhausted batteries.


URBANBAT represents an innovative and pioneering initiative thanks to the reduction of the environmental impact of the transport sector in general and of the public transit sector in particular. The project achieved what was planned in the proposal: to define a waste management model for the majority of liquid residuals generated in the maintenance and operation of vehicles’ urban fleet by reducing environmental hazards and increasing its life span. Nevertheless, the extension of the methodology to other public transit systems will only be possible where public administrations co-finance the investment to introduce such techniques. Regarding water from washing bodywork, almost all the water consumed was reused (13,300 m3/year). Recovery of 87% of the used water produced high-quality water, and recovery of the remaining 11% produced water that could be put to other, less demanding uses. There was 100% recovery of waters with used antifreeze. Of the 230 m3/year of water used in the washing engines and motors, 96% is recoverable. However, all treated water from cleaning cooling circuits and radiators (65 m3/year) is not–recoverable and must be dumped down the drain after conditioning. This project has been selected as one of the "Best" LIFE Environment projects in 2007-2008


Environmental issues addressed:


Land-use & Planning - Transport planning - Traffic monitoring
Waste - Waste reduction - Raw material saving
Services & Commerce - Transportation - Storage


maintenance (technical)‚  transportation business‚  urban area‚  pollutant elimination

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Empresa Municipal Transportes de Valencia
Type of organisation Public enterprise
Description Empresa Municipal Transportes de Valencia - Valencia’s public transit body, manages the city’s urban transport service - its extensive fleet of buses. The buses are maintained in Empresa Municipal Transportes de Valencia’s own garages in the city of Valencia.
Partners AIMME (Metal Mechanics Technology and Related Industries Research Association), Spain Valencia City Council, Spain FEVAUTO (Valencian Metallurgical Business Federation – a vehicle repair shop association), Spain ATUC (Association of companies in charge of running collective urban transport), Spain Innove Verda (private company specialised in environmental issues), Spain


Project reference LIFE03 ENV/E/000160
Duration 01-DEC-2003 to 30-NOV -2006
Total budget 1,721,438.00 €
EU contribution 833,103.00 €
Project location Comunidad Valenciana(España)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website (ES)
Publication: After-LIFE Communication Plan After-LIFE Communication Plan (EN)
Publication: Layman report Layman report (ES, EN, FR)
Video feature Video of the project in Spanish(25MB)


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