Gold standard for utility performance

History of the Budapest Central Wastewater Treatment Plant (BKSZTT)

The Budapest Central Wastewater Treatment Plant (BKSZTT) was created as the largest investment of the “ÉlőDuna” (Living Danube) project.

This project was the most significant environmental protection investment carried out between 2004 and 2010. The project included the establishment of the Budapest Central Wastewater Treatment Plant, a capacity increase investment in three sewage pumping stations (the pump stations in Ferencváros, Albertfalva and Kelenföld), construction of the main collector on the Buda side of the Danube and construction of the pipelines running under the Danube which deliver wastewater to the treatment plant, as well as the construction of a flood dam for the protection of the plant and also of an access road.

Before BKSZTT started its operations, only 50% of Budapest’s wastewater had been treated. This resulted in a degree of water contamination that the self-cleaning capacity of the Danube could no longer handle; moreover, this threatened the extinction of several local fish species. Thanks to the operation of the plant, the 50% proportion increased to 95%, and it will increase to 100% in the following years as a result of the development of the sewer network in Budapest.

Of the BKSZTT project’s total cost of EUR 249 million, 65% was financed by the European Union Cohesion Fund, 20% by the Hungarian State, and 15% by the Municipality of Budapest.

It was carried out by the Csepel 2005 FH consortium that had been established for this purpose.

With the establishment of the Budapest Central Wastewater Treatment Plant on Csepel Island, one of Europe’s most up to date facilities was completed and, after one year of trial operation, it started its operations on 1 August 2010. The plant was operated by BKSZT Kft., owned by the Municipality of Budapest with a 50.2% share, and the Csepel FH 2005 Consortium, with a 49.8% share, during the first year.

On 25 November 2011, an agreement was reached with the Csepel FH 2005 Consortium (owning a 49.8 % minority share of BKSZT Kft.) on the purchase of their shares. Accordingly, it came into the possession of BVK Holding Zrt., which is wholly owned by the Municipality of Budapest. The Municipality of Budapest remained the majority shareholder with 50.2%.

As of 01 June 2013, the General Assembly transferred the exclusive right to operate BKSZTT to Fővárosi Vízművek Zrt (Budapest Waterworks), pursuant to their decision adopted on 22 February 2013. The previous operator, BKSZT Kft, merged into Fővárosi Vízművek Zrt.

The collected wastewater reaches the central wastewater treatment plant through two channel pairs running under the Danube. With a daily hydraulic capacity of 350,000 m3 in dry weather, the plant treats an average of 250,000 m3 wastewater per day, which is the equivalent of the amount of wastewater produced by 1,300,000 people.

As a result of the project, a completely enclosed (covered) plant was built, requiring quite unique technical solutions. Due to the covered area of the plant, it could be made even “greener” by planting vegetation on the top of the buildings, including the biological treatment technology.

The plant’s planned electricity capacity generated from biomass covered 50% percent of the complete electricity requirement, which, as a result of continuous innovation, technological improvements and developments, reached 62.1% by 2016. The operation of the wastewater treatment plant is ensured by a group of 70 qualified personnel, assisted by a wastewater laboratory with a staff of 9 people.

 

The produced disinfected, stabilized sludge is transported from the wastewater treatment plant by road to several sites for revegetation purposes.

The so-called 3rd treatment stage was built at BKSZTT in December 2013. Due to this investment, the plant not only became capable of increased nutrient removal – which helps to comply with the stricter future EU standards – but is also able to handle the variable amount of influent wastewater flexibly.

Under the management of Fővárosi Vízművek Zrt., additional investments aiming to improve energy efficiency were carried out as well, including setting up a solar powered network water supply system in 2013, and installing a mini hydroelectric plant in the effluent-treated stream of water in 2015.

Each year, the modern technology and the outstanding treatment efficiency of the plant attracts many professional visitors, such as Mr. Tegegnework Gettu, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, who commended the plant after his visit during the Budapest Water Summit in November 2016.