British Water Technical Explorer Mission to Belgium 14th-16th February, 2006
12 January 2006, News release from British Water
Focussing on smaller-scale wastewater treatment, SUDS and water quality management in urban areas, modelling, sludge treatment, monitoring and regulation, concession management, private sector involvement
In the past, the authority to abstract, treat or distribute water and regulate emissions into the river system lay with the municipalities. The oldest legislation in this area, predating the founding of Belgium as an independent state, can be traced back to 1790. As the management of water resources became increasingly complex and capital-intensive, smaller municipalities joined forces to address this issue and formed associations known as "Intercommunales", with limited company status, which have become key players in the utilities sector in Belgium. These organisations are subject to rules specific to each sector and are governed by a board consisting of representatives of the local authorities, which are members of the association. "Intercommunales" supply water on behalf of the municipalities, who share in the profits. Similar intercommunales exist for electricity and gas supply, waste water treatment and cable TV.
Revenue from the utilities is one of the major sources of revenue for the local authorities. In addition to these regional associations, a national drinking water company was created to supply municipalities who chose not to set up their own water company. This body dominated the sector until the federal structure of the state became a reality. At that time is was split into two regional companies, VMW and SWDE.. Water related issues have been a regional competence since 1983.
Water companies as they exist in the UK, with responsibility for water supply and waste water treatment do not exist in Belgium. All waste water and drinking supply companies are therefore officially public sector bodies, but a very small number have a private partner. Traditionally, the discharge of sewage and industrial effluent was, except in extreme cases, unregulated. It was only in 1971 that a law on the protection of surface waters recognised and addressed the problem of water pollution and set up three sewage treatment bodies for the Schelde, Meuse and Coastal (Yzer) basins. Water related issues have been a regional competence since 1983. Although the three regions must ultimately meet (and should, in theory, already be compliant) the EU urban wastewater and water quality directive criteria. In practice, regional legislation and policy differ to such an extent that they few have very little in common, and need to approached as three different countries.
· To promote British expertise and management in relation to systems operation, technology in wastewater treatment to small and medium (Package Treatment Plant) as well as to large communities, stormwater control and water quality management in urban areas and river basins (SUDS), modelling, sludge treatment and disposal with especial emphasis on UK equipment suppliers, process contractors, specialist consultancies and service providers;
· To disseminate British experience and expertise in the provision of wastewater treatment to all communities, stormwater control and water quality management in urban areas and river basins, modelling, sludge treatment and disposal the establishment of control and monitoring procedures in response to regulatory requirements and with concession management;
· To provide the Belgian water sector with the opportunity to expand their detailed knowledge of the relevant technologies and equipment;
· To identify opportunities for co-operation between Belgium and British companies on technical, operational and management issues in the water sector, and
· To provide an opportunity for missioners to display company product and service literature and to promote the UK water sector on the British Water stand at an annual three-day regional exhibition.
The following is required by Friday, 20th January 2006:
· Missioners and company details (150 words), if applicable include details of Belgian contacts
· Abstract of presentation - will appear in English and French in the Conference Proceedings
· Full presentation (one language only) prepared in Word, 8 pages A4 (NOT pdf files); margins (cm): top 3.5, bottom 3, left and right 2.5, header and footer 1.25; writing area 16 x 23.2; font Times New Roman; 11 points; single spaced; justified; Normal style; no automatic numbering of the text; title in capitals 12 point, bold, centred. Authors and institution centred, presenting author underlined. Leave a space after authors and institution before main text. Subtitles should be left indented, 11 points, bold. Figures, graphics and tables should be prepared in black and white and should fit in the writing area. The volume will be printed in black and white, except for paid colour advertisements and applications.
This deadline will maximise the publicity for missioners and their companies. It will ensure that company and missioners information, abstracts of presentations and indeed the whole presentation will be inserted into the Conference Proceedings given to all delegates. A mission brochure will not be printed to minimise the shared costs for the mission.
Day One Tuesday 14th February
Arrival of the UK delegation
Conference Reception for missioners and delegates (venue tbc)
Day Two Wednesday 15th February
Seminar: "Water - Adding Value and Quality"
Venue: British Embassy Brussels
Purpose: to bring together Belgian and British product and technology suppliers and operators to explore how they can work together to add value throughout the life-cycle of this natural resource, by providing the public, businesses and the authorities with a managed service. Ensuring perfect water quality in a highly regulated environment makes this even more challenging.
Target audience : water companies, technology suppliers, contractors, consultants, financial services companies, water sector economists, federal and regional policy makers and civil servants with responsibility for water cycle management, local authorities academics.
Plenary session with presentations by keynote speakers from Belgium and the UK
Breakout sessions :
Stream 1: adding value
Presentations and case studies; examples of possible topics :
· Benefits of integrated management - upstream and downstream under one umbrella.
· Sewers don't win votes - but can they earn money? Wide-area sewer management
· Single billing
· Public private partnerships
· River basin management
· Sludge treatment
· Trans-national joint projects
· Regulation: how to regulate the lifecycle of a natural resource
Stream 2: water quality
Presentations and case studies; examples of possible topics :
· Key problem areas - lead - cryptosporidium - legionella and new ways to tackle them
· Nitrates in surface and ground water
· Water quality and optimising the testing capabilities
· Contaminated land and water
· Water quality on demand
· Coping with industrial substances in urban wastewater
Opportunity for UK companies to meet, on a one-to one basis, members of the Belgian water sector, both municipal and private companies
(UK companies will have poster stands)
Belgian multipliers :
Day Three Thursday 16th February
Briefings of UKREP (office of the UK Permanent Representative to the EU)
Meetings at the European Commission
Return to the UK
Please direct all enquiries to Judi Crimmins at British Water.
Tel: 020 7957 4597 Fax: 020 7957 4565
Places must be booked as soon as possible and by 20th January to meet the deadlines so that missioners and company information, abstract and presentation can be translated and entered into the seminar proceedings.
For further information please email British Water