The Nosedo project is a joint venture concession consortium which includes two of the largest global players in the water industry – Veolia and Indo Suez Environment – as well as other leading Italian companies operating in the environmental and building industry sector such as Passavant Impianti Italia, Unieco, Bonatti and Itinera.
The corporate structure set up by the consortium in order to manage the contract complies with the model of BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) project financing contracts. The contract to build and operate the Nosedo wastewater treatment plant is a BOT contract, the first ever in Italy in the water facility sector.
The plant is the final stage of a complex facility that collects sewage from the central-eastern area of the city of Milan and has a treatment capacity of 1,250,000 equivalent inhabitants. The wastewater treatment plant covers a 40,000 m2 area and has a sewage treatment capacity of 432,000 m3 per day, the equivalent of approximately 18,000 m3/hour in dry weather, and about 54,000 m3/hour in rainy conditions
The plant provides three treatment methods for sewage flows: pretreatment, with two screening phases followed by grit and oil removal; bio-treatment, i.e. denitrification and oxidation-nitrification followed by sedimentation; and tertiary treatment and disinfection, where the water from the final sedimentation stage is filtered over sand bed filters.
For the different treatment stages, the joint venture companies chose to source the pumps from Caprari. It is not every day that a manufacturer is selected by an international consortium to take part in a major plant project. This is why being awarded the contract for the supply of the submersible electric pumps for wastewater treatment applications in the Milan-Nosedo plant is significant for the Italian pump company. Caprari says that it goes to show how it has become established in an increasingly global and competitive market.
The contact not only included the equipment, but also a full service contract covering routine and special maintenance, spare parts and renewals for the duration of the concession contract. Originally the contract was planned to run for 12 years from 2003 to 2015, but was later extended until 2019. Nearly 14 years later, Caprari is in a position to give an accurate account of the operating performance of its electric pumps, the quality of service and its overall reliability.
More than a supplier
Caprari played a significant role in this scenario, initially in terms of on-time delivery, and later on in ensuring product quality and reliability over time, and providing maintenance under a full service contract during the 12-year period.
Caprari was tasked with the supply and maintenance of 75 submersible electric pumps selected to meet the required technical specifications. The electric pumps were deployed in all treatment stages. This meant Caprari's relationship with MilanoDepur S.p.A, the company owned by the concession consortium, extended beyond that of a supplier, turning it into a partner offering continuous, prompt, close collaboration.
Demonstrating reliability was not enough: what was required here was a partner who could concretely demonstrate all-round service capabilities and unrelenting responsiveness.
In addition to borehole pumps and horizontal surface pumps, Caprari supplied the sewage pumps that are in the process line. This was, and still is, a great responsibility given the vital role played by the electric pumps (sewage pumps) installed in this delicate stage of the process. Moreover, their operation must be guaranteed 24hrs a day.
Caprari says rugged construction and resistance under heavy duty conditions enabled its pumps to win yet another challenge, one that was immediately recognised as a great opportunity to prove the worth of made in Italy products.
Suppliers’ vital role
Mr. Mazzini, President of MilanoDepur S.p.A., explains that one cannot understand the vital role played by suppliers in this concession without considering the concession contract obligations required by the Municipality of Milan and the level of attention adopted by lending banks during the due diligence process before approving project financing. The obligations in the plant concession contract are:
- project delivery on time and to cost
- passing performance testing
- activating treatment service in compliance with project data and all concession contract obligations
- mandatory service continuity, to avoid heavy penalty charges or environmental damage
- deferred six-monthly payment for treatment service
- transferring the plant in good working order at the end of the concession period, when the facility is transferred to the host authority, the Municipality of Milan, after an assessment period of six months
The lending banks (Intesa San Paolo and Royal Bank of Scotland) have introduced additional constraints and inspections to be carried out during the building and operation stages in the financing contract.
In addition to the supervising roles assigned to public authorities (work supervisor, inspectors and chief official in charge of contract), the banks appointed a trusted company to perform inspections both during the building phase and operation phase. To the banks, good operating practices and proper maintenance are conducive to regular payments – i.e., the repayment of the loan. The quality of service is closely connected with the performance of the suppliers of equipment, which plays a key role in the proper operation of the plant, as is the case with Caprari.
Mr. Mazzini concluded that: “We may describe Caprari as more than a supplier, namely as a well-respected, reliable partner with an innovative approach aimed at the ongoing improvement of products and service, that has always maintained a high focus on us and our needs, in compliance with their contract obligations.”