Sustainability for Aquarno

Sustainability for Aquarno..

The 2030 Agenda, signed on the 25th of September, 2015 by the governments of 193 member Countries of the United Nations, defines sustainable development through 17 goals, objectives to be achieved and 5 areas of intervention. I In the 17 goals, there are some of particular interest for Aquarno: clean water and sanitary services (6), clean and accessible energy (7), responsible consumption and production (12), fight against climate change (13), life under water (14), life on earth (15) and in the areas of intervention, the ”Planet”; to ensure sustainable management of natural resources, contrasting the loss of biodiversity and protecting environmental assets.
Aquarno, established in 19983, initially manages the centralized purification plant of Santa Croce sull’Arno, where the purification of civil and industrial wastewater, from the Tuscan Leather District, takes place; it keeps up with the times to satisfy the concept of environmental sustainability and contribute to the achievement of the goals listed above. Aquarno is made up of a set of different plants and each of these implements sustainable technologies, dedicating in a circular economy and ecological transition.

  • Civil and industrial wastewater purification plant: to meet all legislative and productive needs, the topic of purification has been the subject of continuous studies and plant implementations accomplished over the years to guarantee the maximum possible efficiency. The area for purification, progressively expanded to reach a surface of ​​approximately 2 km2, increasing the treatment volumes up to 150.000 m3 and a purification capacity of 2,050,000 EP (one of the largest in Europe), is still evolving. At the same time, various plant management techniques were introduced to give priority to biological purification over chemical-physical purification, and obtain the lowest possible environmental impact, thanks above all to the reduced use of chemical reagents and consequently to the reduction of produced sludge.


Civil and industrial wastewater purification plant
  • Sludge treatment plant: the technological and plant innovations adopted at the purification, have significantly reduced the production of sludge, going from 180.000 to 15.000 tons/year. However, the flows are still significant and the disposal in dump, over the years, has resulted in limits and objective issues, especially for finding the necessary storage volumes. For this reason, an alternative solution had studied that could guarantee the volumetric reduction of sludge and its reuse as secondary raw material (MPS), closing a cycle, starting from awaste. The plant was created at the beginning of the 2000s, also thanks to public funding to promote the lowest environmental impact, almost completely delating the transfer of waste in dump. The result of the treatment, the sintered granulate (KEU), is reused in mixtures with cement and aggregates for the production of cemented mixtures.

Sludge treatment plant


  • Chromium treatment and recovery plant: Aquarno can boast the creation of a product recovered from the exhausted chrome tanning baths, basic chromium sulphate; it is registered under REACH, for which there is a real market, in the district tannery of Santa Croce sull’Arno and in other tanning districts in Italy and abroad.
  • Laboratory: Aquarno has established an internal laboratory that carries out the analyzes of fundamental importance to determine specific and essential parameters for a correct management of the purification process. The checks carried out in the laboratory,represent a guarantee for the protection of the environment providing data that allow an immediate monitoring of the progress and effectiveness of the system. In addition to internal analyzes to control the purification process, the laboratory is also able to provide useful results for monitoring the processes of the sludge treatment plant and chromium recovery.
    To make this activity better known outside, over the years, various initiatives have been created with local schools.


In the last 30 years, Aquarno has had a continuous structural and technological evolution, with the aim of reducing environmental impacts, ensuring highly efficient water purification and sustainable management of the various flows that come from the treatment process and recovery of the chrome. The plants are equipped with an Environmental Management System (EMS): the purification and sludge treatment plants have an EMS under development while the chrome treatment and recovery plant is regulated by ISO14001 and the laboratory by ISO9001. Aquarno has therefore developed and implemented modern technologies for the treatment of urban wastewater and for the treatment of sludge, acquiring considerable experience in:

  • Wastewater purification.
  • Creation of technologically advanced systems to limit environmental impact.
  • Design of a treatment chain for the recovery and reuse of civil wastewater in industrial processes.
  • Reuse of sintered granulate.