Regional U.S. Water Trade Delegation
American and Southeast Experience in Water Sector Shared at Pomorie Trade Mission
By Irina Bacheva
Innovative technologies for water/ waste water in residential, commercial and industrial projects were at focus during a water trade mission and conference in Pomorie held on April 16-17, 2013. The forum was organized by the U.S. Commercial Service in Bulgaria in partnership with AmCham Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Water Association.
Ten leading U.S. companies applying environmentally friendly technologies took part in the trade mission. The event instigated the interest of more than 170 reps of Bulgarian, Romanian and Moldovan water and waste water companies, local partners, representatives of the national and local government, private sector companies in need of water/waste water technologies.
The Bulgarian, Romanian and Moldovan delegation had a meeting with the mayor of Bourgas Dimiter Nikolov. After the meeting the delegation visited the Meden rudnik waste water treatment plant that was modernized and expanded with EU funding. Bourgas city and the region have a very good experience and excellent practices in water infrastructure projects with EU funding. Bourgas has been developing EU projects for EUR 100 mln and it is a leading municipality in terms of EU-funded projects.
“Bulgaria is a small market but we are closely working with Romania, Moldova and Macedonia on a regional level”, Barbara Lapini, US Commercial Attaché said during the briefing for American and Romanian companies in Pomorie. Bulgaria’s stable fiscal policy, financial stability and skillful labor force are competitive advantages of Bulgarian market, said Valentin Georgiev.
Bulgaria is completing the first seven year period of EU funded projects until end of this year mainly in the field of waste water projects, said Stanislava Dimitrova, US Commercial Advisor. The next planning period 2014-2020 EU funding is expected to focus on water projects as well.
In Bulgaria there are two ministries dealing with water sector projects: the Ministry of Environment and Water and the Ministry for Regional Development and Public Works. During the next programming period of EU funding, it is expected that Bulgaria will spend EUR 1.5 bln, Dobromir Simidchiev, Deputy Minister of Regional Development said. It is a must for Bulgaria to use the best technologies for spending the money, Simidchiev further added.
By the end of 2014, Bulgaria is obliged to complete the construction of collecting systems and urban waste water treatment plants according to national legislation, said Georgi Terzov, State Expert, Water Management Directorate at the Ministry of Environment and Water. BGN 700 million were allocated by the Bulgarian government under the Environment Operational Program in the end of 2012 for water treatment plants infrastructure on the Black Sea coast.
Half of Bulgarians Connected to an Outdated Plumbing
Until the end of 2012 Bulgaria invested 1.7 bln EUR in the water sector of the municipalities, according to the former environmental minister Nona Karadzhova. It has been estimated that in Bulgaria there are up to 60% losses of water due to old water supply system, said Dobromir Simidchiev. To compare – the average loss in Europe is up to 40%. The losses in Bulgaria are two types: physical ones generated because of the bad infrastructure, and commercial ones that are used without being invoiced or measured in any way.
In the end of 2012 Bulgaria’s 41st National Assembly adopted a Strategy for management and development of the water sector in Bulgaria. According to the Strategy 46% of the Bulgarian population is connected to an outdated water purifying stations which urgently need reconstruction and modernization (especially of the filtration system) and automatic control of the remaining reagents of chlorine and aluminum in the purified drinking water. In fact a big part of the active water network in the country has been developed before 1980 and the main materials in usage for pumps, plumbing and water meters are asbestos cement and steel which already expired.
The Romanian water sector is similar to the American and Bulgarian ones being owned in majority by the municipalities, said Maria Nitoiu, U.S. Commercial Service Romania. As in Bulgaria, the main funding for projects comes from the EU. There are approximately 50 waste-water utilities in Romania, among them the one in Constanta is very successfully operated.
Special guests at the seminar were: Jim Cunningham, Regional Senior Commercial Officer, U.S. Embassy in Romania, Ivan Ivanov, Bulgarian Water Association, Vasile Ciomos, President of the Romanian Water Association, Constantin Becciev, president of Moldova Apa-Canal Association, General Manager of Apa-Canal Chisinau Water Company.
The US companies that shared experience and know-how were:
AECOM (technical and management support services);
DuPont Water Technologies (provider of Chlorine Dioxide products and Generation Technology for disinfecting);
BioMicrobics (wastewater and storm water treatment technologies);
ESRI Bulgaria (Geographic Information Systems);
XYLEM Lowara/Vogel (pumps for residential, industrial and municipal use);
Purafil (engineering and manufacture of gas-phase air filtration media, systems, and air quality monitors);
MIOX (water disinfection systems used for potable water, wastewater reuse);
PSI (water disinfection systems for potable, industrial water));
Motorola Solutions (business- and mission-critical communication solutions for enterprise and government customers/ SCADA);
Coler&Colantonio (consulting services in the areas of water/wastewater, energy, and land development).
Bulgarian water companies that shared experience in the Bulgarian water sector were:
Prostream (hi tech equipment with various apps in energy, industry, water supply);
Stroitelna Mehanizatsia (underground construction);
Eurocom 2000 (water-main, sewage and heating systems)
Mobiltel (mobile operator)
WATO/ Industrial parts (valves and fittings for water supply network)