Water infrastructure boost in Paraguay
Water treatment Membranes Americas

Three is the magic number: Water infrastructure boost in Paraguay

Wednesday, 26 October 2022

Water treatment and desalination construction company, Fisia Italimpianti, has won a $144 million contract to build three new plants in Paraguay for pulp manufacturing company Paracel SA. 

Three times the charm

Fisia Italimpianti, has won a $144 million contract to build three new plants in Paraguay. 

Part of Webuild, the company was created in 2020 by Salini Impregilo, a sustainable design and construction company of water treatment and desalination plants.

Commissioned by Paracel SA, a pulp manufacturing company, Fisia Italimpianti will build the plants near the Paraguay River near the city of Concepción. 

Work is expected to start in early 2023 for the three new plants.

More than 342 million tons of paper have been produced in 2022 alone.

The deal will see the construction of three plants; a water treatment plant for the river with a capacity of 7,000 m3/hour, a demineralisation plant with a capacity of 1,350 m3/hour, and an effluent treatment plant with a total capacity of 6,600 m3/hour within the pulp mill. 

Paper manufacturing is a well known water-intensive process. According to The World Counts, it takes between two and 13 litres of water to produce a single A4 sheet of paper, depending on the mill.

As a result, the pulp and paper industry is one of largest industrial consumers of water in Western countries. To date in 2022, it’s estimated that 342 million tons of paper have been produced.  

Meeting global demand with sustainable pulp

Paracel SA is on a mission to make the pulp industry more sustainable and cites a recent increase in the demand for biodegradable products. 

In the pulp market, this demand comes from products such as diapers, and toilet paper, as well as containers and paper products. 

To meet this demand Paracel SA said it is key to have a greater supply of well-managed sustainable plantations and treatment plants. 

This includes eucalyptus pulp, one of the major species used for the pulp and paper industry. However, eucalyptus consumes a high amount of water, which can cause dry areas around plantation sites and also impact groundwater reservoirs.

Paracel SA currently operates out of its Bleached Kraft pulp mill, which is supplied with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood from its sustainable plantations and from the market. It has a capacity is 1.8 million tons per year.

Water treatment is essential

Pulp and paper mill effluents contain a complex mixture of various organic compounds, such as degradation products of carbohydrates, lignin, and extractives. 

The effluents contain high values of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD), and chlorinated chemicals that are collectively termed absorbable organic halides (AOX). 

According to a paper published by North Carolina State University, untreated wastewater discharge from paper mills could lead to depletion of dissolved oxygen, toxic effects on fish and other aquatic organisms, and unacceptable changes to colour, turbidity, temperature, and solids content of the receiving waters.