Mr. José Luis Luege, general director of National Water Commission (Conagua), and Mr. Carlos Slim did sign a contract for building the Atotonilco Waste Water Treatment Plant past January 7, 2010. The plant is designed to be one of the biggest hydraulic infrastructure works in México.
January 7, 2010, México City

Mr. José Luis Luege, general director of National Water Commission (Conagua), and Mr. Carlos Slim did sign a contract for building the Atotonilco Waste Water Treatment Plant past January 7, 2010. The plant is designed to be one of the biggest hydraulic infrastructure works in México, and is aimed to working out the waste water problem in the metropolitan zone of the valley of México.

The work will cost more than 10,000 million pesos, and will create more than 4,000 direct jobs, plus about 15,000 indirect jobs.

It counts for the biggest of-its-kind project being built in México nowadays, and one of the biggest in the whole world, having 25 cubic feet per-second capacity under normal conditions, and 35 cubic feet per-second capacity during rain season. It is designed to treat about 60% of waste water in the metropolitan zone of the valley of México.

Mr. Carlos Slim address on the occasion:

Good Afternoon: Mr. Juan Rafael Elvira, secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, Mr. José Luis Luege, general director of Conagua, Mr. José Ramón Ardavín, general under-director of Conagua’s Drinking, Sewage and Treatment Water, Mr. Fausto Barajas, technical secretary of the Presidency Infrastructure Bureau, Mr. Cuauhtémoc Ochoa, secretary of Public Works of the state of Hidalgo, Mr. Daniel Robles, director of Banobras Projects, Mr. Rosalío Santana, Major of Tepeji del Río, Mr. Julio César Ángeles, Major of Atotonilco, ladies and gentlemen:

I feel proud, responsible and committed in participating in this world-class partnership through our building firms IDEAL and CICSA, along with excelling British, Japanese, and Spanish firms, all of them greatly experienced in advanced water-treatment technology at a world level.

The Mexican firms in this partnership employ thousands of engineers, researchers and highly-specialized technical workers, as they participate in building the modern México, so creating direct and indirect jobs by the thousands. All of this work demand huge investments and technical activity, so contributing to competitiveness, modernity, progress and increasing standards of living for the Mexican population.

I am also pleased that, after many delayed years, the water-management problem of the valley of México has began to be faced through a public-private partnership involving Federal, México City, State of México, and State of Hidalgo governments.

This project, along with the in-build east-outflow system, is aimed to both draining and treating waste and pluvial water to be recycled as irrigation water for higher-value crops. Until now, valley of México’s waste water has been used in irrigating grain crops. With this work, they will be used in irrigating 90,000 hectare of vegetable and garden produce crops, so increasing the income for about 700,000 inhabitants in this area, besides improved environment.

The work is designed to treat about 25 cubic feet per-second under normal outflow conditions, and 52 cubic feet per-second during three hours under abnormal outflow conditions. It will be also able to eliminate rain-water pathogenic excess and pouring down so-treated water into its own natural river-bed a big step ahead in water treatment in México.

The project is a paradigmatic one. Along with the east-outflow system it will solve the valley of México’s waste and pluvial water management. The other part of the equation, valley of México’s aquifer over-exploitation (20 cubic meter per-second) is pending. I am very sure that this problem will be approached anytime soon.

Valley of México’s aquifer over-exploitation has lasted many decades. One of its negative consequences has been underground clay’s compressing and cracking. Such a pressure tends to deform upper underground layers, so destabilizing and collapsing urban infrastructure, and drainage networks. In fact, some buildings and drainage networks sections have already collapsed.

So, halting aquifer’s over-exploitation is an urgent task. This would be a big step ahead not only in preserving infrastructure integrity, but in leveling up the valley’s aquifer, since treated and irrigated water will permeate down to the underground in a range of seven-to-ten cubic meter per-second. The envisaged cycle is getting previously-treated waste and pluvial water to irrigate crops in the valley of México surroundings; so-permeated water will return to the aquifer back, so leveling it up.

Water scarcity can also be solved. It is not so popular to say that water is a renewable and recyclable natural resource. For big over-populated cities as México, huge projects, big investments, and efficient management are needed. There are ongoing talks to produce 85 percent of the demanded energy by producing biogas out of treated mud and debris. It is expected that about 2,500 tons per day will be treated.

This part of the equation is very important. I recognize the Federal Government, and particularly Conagua, for undertaking such a task in the middle of a global financial crisis.

In order to solve the whole equation, conveying water from the state of Hidalgo and making it drinkable for human consume in the Valley of México will be needed. A whole overhauling of the underground network will be also needed to stop leaking, which nowadays amounts to a high 40 percent.

Rainfall water in the valley of México (about 200 cubic meter per-second) amounts four-to-five times the consumed water. Frequent torrential raining provokes ruinous floods, just 15 percent of which gets infused back down to the aquifer. The east outflow system is designed to increase permeated water, yet additional works (filtering lagoons, regulation dams, and absorption wells) are needed to compensate the average 20 cubic meter over-exploitation.

Finally, I warmly felicitate functionaries, engineers, technical workers, finance men and lawyers that have worked in this partnership during more than a year to draw out such complete, detailed and professional proposal, including financial soundness, execution and operation of this world-class project involving more than 14,000 programmed activities.

As I have said, this project stands for the definitive solution for both mud and debris management to produce about 25 biogas megawatts. Mexican engineer participation in executing this project will be substantial. More than 70 percent of components will be domestically provided, so stimulating economic activity, development and employment in our own country.

I ratify my congratulation to the Federal Executive through Conagua, and the here-present secretary of Environment. I am very optimistic that along with the state of Hidalgo, state of México and México City governments we will solve the problems I have briefly outlined.

Thanks.       

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