Baltic Water Works Conference 2018 overview


From May 23 to 25, 2018 another Baltic Conference was held, this time organized in Palanga, Lithuania, at the hotel “Vanagupe”, which was already familiar from the past.

The main topics discussed at this conference included the drinking water risk assessment, changes in the legislation, sludge treatment, and sharing of experiences in the operation of water and wastewater networks.


On the first day, May 23, the sponsored product presentations were given.

  1. Introduction to EurEau. By Bruno Tisserand, President of the EurEau.

Bruno Tisserand gave an overview of the EurEau as an organization and introduced the lobbying activities of the water business at the European level.

EurEau is a pan-European umbrella organization, representing water and wastewater operators from both the public and the private sectors. The greatest strengths of the organization include its competent members and the network of nearly 200 experts.

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  1. Implement the best practice in waterworks and change to the best water microbiology monitoring technology! By Gints Rotčenkovs, SnapTest.LV SIA. LV

Latvian company Snap Test introduced rapid tests for drinking water. Their product range has rapid tests for microbiology and chemical compounds.

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  1. Intelligent Network Management of Water Utilities. By Augustinas Daugilis, UAB Hnit-Baltic. LT

The representative of Hnit-Baltic presented his speech on the modern possibilities to manage the water company’s assets in a united platform, which combines information from different databases. Together with the GIS solutions and network monitoring equipment, the water company will be provided with the possibilities for an intelligent network management. Complex asset management program allows to carry out daily network monitoring. As an additional feature, the company can use a customer module, allowing to prepare the connection offer to the customer-to-be instantly, by using the input from the GIS and the unit costs from previous works. In Estonia, the platform users include for example Elveso, Emajõe Veevärk, Järve Biopuhastus, Haapsalu Veevärk, etc.

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  1. Alfa Laval dewatering equipment. By Aleksandrs Vdovins, Alfa Laval. LT

Alfa Laval introduced their sludge centrifuges, but the company’s product range is significantly wider – for example, they also produce heat exchangers. When asked what is the dry matter percentage of the centrifuged sludge, then a staggering range of 40-50% was mentioned. After presenting a clarifying question, it was explained that the result to be achieved is strongly dependant on the raw material, and for the sewage sludge the results will rather remain within the 20% limit. In addition, Alfa Laval is issuing to its clients information about the size of their environmental footprint. This is a new trend, allowing to calculate the ecological footprint that the wastewater treatment has on the environment.

A question was raised  ̶  Whether the very modern technological solutions still really are environmentally sustainable?!

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  1. High quality valves, hydrants and accessories for drinking water systems. Product news. By Jurgis Trams, AVK International AS. EE

AVK’s product range certainly is impressive. Therefore, this time their presentation focused on the threadless connection systems for water pipes. The products are corrosion-resistant and quick to fit. The principle is that it must be possible to dismantle the fitting later. This is enabled with the use of safety retainer, which can be easily fitted and later removed.

The company had brought a stand where everyone got to try fitting the AVK’s threadless connection system on a plastic pipe, which caused a lot of excitement. It was a blind contest with working area being covered and not possible to see the work process. It took 56 seconds for the two young ladies to win the contest. And unfortunately, it took twice as much for the writer of this summary to do it.

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  1. Combiflex ̶  An innovative system for pipe cross sections. By Erik Johnsen, HAWLE/Industek LT

For their presentation, Hawle had selected from its product range Combiflex valves, where the so-called pipe cross is no longer used. All of the branch valves are connected into one product.

This kind of complex products allow to save time on installation, which is especially critical when working in urban spaces. Although the price of a complex product itself, when compared to every single product, will be higher, the final cost of the work will be significantly cheaper, due to the shorter time spent on the installation works.

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  1. Modern sewer cleaning and diagnostics equipment for various needs and opportunities. By Tomas Samulionis, Vaidotas Milaknis, UAB “ALWARK”. LT

The company is focused on providing customers with a very wide-scale machinery required in the public utility services, starting from the moment the machine is sold until the end of its life cycle. Company’s wide maintenance network allows for quick response in any of the Baltic State regions.

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  1. Water network monitoring 4.0: Water losses & network modelling. By Andres Minn, Lokaator OÜ. EE

Lokaator presented their speech on the principles of leakage detection on the water network. Very important is the noise, which gives much more information about the water network than we have been used to think. The most effective tool for measuring the noise, as well as all the other parameters, is the universal VLM sensor, which -̶  in addition to specifying the flow volume  ̶  allows the water company to do the online consumption and leakage monitoring.

The range of equipment offered by Lokaator also includes various wastewater meters, online water meters, etc. Other new products offered include the QUA-VAC vacuum sewage system solutions.

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  1. Comparative analysis of different types of equipment for sludge dewatering exploitation characteristics based on practical results. By Gennady Baklanov, UAB “Ekoton Eu”. LT

In their presentation, Ekoton introduced the wastewater treatment equipment they produce, with a focus on dewatering equipment. The new product offered by the company, called degrader, has significant advantages in comparison with ordinary decanters, both in terms of the energy and the polymer consumption.

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  1. ABB Solutions for Water and Wastewater in Baltics. By Mart Tuuling, ABB AS. EE

ABB’s presentation introduced the possibility of involving ABB in the development of water and wastewater solutions already during the planning process. Although ABB mainly focuses on the electricity and automation works, the company also has an expertise, from the experience gained from their existing works, to provide their client with a valuable guidance on building the water and wastewater systems, reg. both the selection of equipment and how to make the work more functional.

As we know, nowadays, most of the water and wastewater equipment is connected with an automation and the interaction between the devices takes place via SCADA. This is an area where one will certainly come across with ABB.

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On the second day, May 24, a plenary session with the presentations was held.

  1. Drinking water supply and wastewater management services: Legislation changes and future perspectives. By Judita Vaišnorienė, Ministry of Environment, Pollution Prevention Department, Water Policy Division, Chief Specialist. Lithuania

The representative of the Lithuanian Ministry of Environment gave her speech on the legislation and future perspectives of the Lithuanian water management. Similarly to Estonia, the financial resources required for the development of the sector come from three sources  ̶  EU funding, plus national and local budgets.

Over the 2000-2017 budgetary period, the EU support through the Cohesion Fund to the development of the Lithuanian water and wastewater sector amounted to ca EUR 1,2 billion.

The state is guiding water quality and requirements set for the agglomerations by means of legislation. The responsibility of a local government is to plan the developments and ensure the availability of the service through the PWSS development plans. It remains for the water companies to arrange the individual solutions.

The presentation revealed that the percentage of residents connected to drinking water supply and wastewater network in the country, for the agglomerations of 2,000 p.e. and more, is 81% and 73%, respectively (2016 data). There are total of 48 agglomerations of 2,000 p.e. and more in Lithuania.

  1. Presentation by “Evopipes Radius”. By Marius Rakauskas. “Evopipes Radius LT”. Lithuania

Evopipes introduced their products.

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  1. Implementation of Water Safety plans in Latvia. By Janis Rubulis,, Senior Researcher, Associated Professor, Riga Technical University, Water research laboratory. Latvia

The presentation was made on the implementation of risk assessment for drinking water, which currently is voluntary, pursuant to the European Directive. The speaker considered that with the new directive, the risk assessment shall be made obligatory for all the water undertakers over the next ca 2 years.

The message was: making a risk assessment is simple, do not be afraid of it.

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  1. Estonia’s experience: Management plan for sewage sludge in Estonia. Economical approaches. Decisions about better technologies. By Martin Zimmer, OÜ Järve Biopuhastus. Estonia

Martin introduced Estonia’s experience in sewage sludge management.

Dewatered sewage sludge makes ca 0.7% of the total waste annually produced in Estonia.

Estonia is currently at a crossroad when it comes to handling of and giving value to sewage sludge, and needs to decide whether to promote composting, incineration, drying, or a combination of all these solutions. Once the solution/solutions are agreed, the next is to solve the question of who should deal with the sludge – is it a water company, a waste management company, or a waste management centre? So far, the obstacle to the creation of unified waste management centres has been the water companies’ unwillingness to pay the gate fee, which would cover the everyday running expenses of such centre. The presentation focussed more on the large water companies.

It also introduced the current situation and outlooks of OÜ Järve Biopuhastus.

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  1. Status and Challenges of Holes in Water Infrastructure. By Dr. Mindaugas Rimeika, Professor, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, Department of Environment Protection and Water Engineering. Lithuania

The speaker delivered presentation on the situation with leaks and infiltration issues in Lithuania. The average annual volume of unsold water in Lithuania is 23% or 29 million m3/year, which equals to the annual water consumption of the cities of Kaunas and Klaipeda. There are several reasons behind this figure, but the main reason is related to the high cost of leakage repair. It was revealed that while the leakage repair in densely populated areas is economically feasible, it is not so outside the cities. Only in 8 Lithuanian water companies, the volume of unsold water remains under 20%.

The other serious concern is the high infiltration rate  ̶  the average figure for Lithuania is 43%, which means an additional 71 million m3 of water per year.

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  1. The Challenges and Success Stories of Industrial Waste Water Treatment. By Sandis Dejus,, Ph.D. Researcher, Riga Technical University, Water research laboratory. Latvia

The presentation discussed various options for treating the industrial wastewater and introduced the activities carried out within the BEST project (focussing on the industrial wastewater studies) by INTERREG (project partners also include Riga Technical University and EVEL).

To sum up, there are three ways for handling the industrial wastewater:

Firstly, by treating the industrial wastewater at the company site (industry’s own treatment works) and then discharging into the environment;

Secondly, by pretreating the industrial wastewater at the company site and then directing to the municipal wastewater treatment plant for further treatment;

Thirdly, by treating the wastewater at the company site and then redirecting to the process.

The industrial treatment works can remove, both separately and as combined, solid particles, organic matter, nutrients, as well as hazardous substances.

The presentation raised several questions, such as: Which is more hazardous to the environment  ̶  a stable industrial wastewater or a domestic wastewater? Whether more pharmaceutical residues are discharged to the sewer from the households or from the pharmaceutical industry?

An intriguing question was raised regarding the possible location for the industrial pretreatment plant. Whether to give preference to the industry’s own territory, with the operating team being provided by the industry, or whether to consider building a pretreatment plant on the territory of the municipal wastewater treatment plan, using the same operating team at both plants? The preferred location would be the territory of a municipal wastewater treatment plant because it already has a protection zone.

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  1. Vocational Training Experience of Water Treatment Operators in Järvamaa Vocational Training Centre. By Yemi Ayankunle, OÜ Türi Water. Estonia.

Yemi spoke about the apprenticeship training for water operators provided in Järvamaa Vocational Training Centre.

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  1. EurEau’s views on the DWD proposal. By Bruno Tisserand, President of the EurEau.

The initiative for changing the Drinking Water Directive (DWD) came from the citizens of the EU. With the Right2Water initiative campaigns, ca 1.9 million signatures were collected, which imposed on the European Parliament the obligation of initiating the amendments to the DWD.

The key points of the initiative concern the quality parameters, which have now been in force for ca 20 years. The draft is intended to increase the frequency of sampling, however, at the same time, it is possible reduce that by preparing a risk assessment to this end. In addition, the directive provides for a clearer division of responsibilities among the state, the water companies and the customers.

Bruno pointed out an interesting fact, that the restaurants in Brussels do not serve tap water for drinking. Even if asked explicitly, the request for tap water remains unfulfilled. The reason being that the restaurants do not take the responsibility for the quality of tap water and therefore, do not serve it to their customers.

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  1. Advanced Ozone Technologies for Odor Control and Disinfection for the Water Companies. By Dr. Arvydas Stončius, Airplus1 Lituanica. Lithuania

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  1. Water Metering Practices from Madona Water Company. By Deniss Kovtuns, Madona water company. Latvia

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  1. Application of different methods of sludge treatment in biogas production technologies. By Aleksejus Timofejevas. Lithuania

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  1. Lithuanian hydrogeological atlas. By Dr. Jonas Satkūnas, Lithuanian Geological Survey. Lithuania

The presentation was delivered on the hydrogeological conditions in Lithuania. A very accurate hydrogeological map has been prepared for the whole of Lithuania. The presentation pointed out a thought-provoking information regarding the rising soil water levels that may begin to affect the stability of the underground water and sewer facilities.

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  1. Experience of the water company “Klaipedos Vanduo” in water supply network cleaning. The usage of vacuum excavator in network maintenance works. By Richard Bolz, AB “Klaipėdos vanduo”. Lithuania

The water company from Klaipeda introduced the air-scouring method used in the company for cleaning the pipes and the vacuum excavation technology.

  1. 110 years of Palanga Water Supply System. Lithuania

The speaker introduced the 110 years of history of the water company in Palanga and gave an overview of the challenges that the company faces today.

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Overwiev author:

Lauri Lagle

EVEL engineering adviser