Biarritz – Beautiful beaches get help with sewage treatment overload during rain

Biarritz, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, had a problem. During heavy rainfall over a short time, the sewage treatment plant of Biarritz was not able to cope with the inflowing water masses. During summer 2013, undersized pipes caused large quantities of untreated wastewater to be diverted directly into the sea, alongside the beaches of Grande Plage and Port des Pêcheurs.

This had major consequences as the introduced fecal bacteria pose a serious health threat to visitors. A strict prohibition of swimming in this beach area was imposed, which was very unpopular for tourism, residents and business in this region.
To avoid a repeat of this possibility in 2014, city officials had to act quickly. Common treatment methods, such as ultra- or ultra-violet filtration require heavy engineering investments which make it impossible to commission a facility for the entire water volume prior to the summer season 2014.

Convinced by the success of their colleagues in the French and Italian cities of Ile d’Oléron, Venice and Bassin Arcachon, Biarritz decided to install the Kemira DesinFix system at its wastewater treatment plant in Marbella, France.

DesinFix is a disinfection system for water and wastewater streams that has a track record of easy installation with environmentally-friendly and robust performance. Specifically during rain events with high loads of suspended solids in the water, when classic disinfection methods often fail, DesinFix is well suited to handle such "problematic flows" safely and efficiently.

On February 1, the Kemira DesinFix unit went into operation and now ensures that the beaches of Biarritz will be safe and permanently available in the summer of 2014.

This Biarritz-operation will also be used for an extensive research study on the effectiveness of Kemira’s DesinFix concept. A research group consisting of members of the University of Pau and Pays de l’Adour (UPPA), the community Basque Coast – Adour and Kemira Chemicals SASU will investigate in detail the handling and efficiency in bacterial reduction, the determination of possible by-products and their influence on concrete materials. The total budget for this research amounts to € 80,000.

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