The entire sewage treatment of the Hohenems and am Kumma region with almost 47,000 inhabitants is carried out by the Hohenems Wastewater Association (ARA) – with a cleaning performance of well over 90 percent.
If you include all discharging companies, that corresponds to around 110,000 inhabitants. The ARA is designed for a maximum capacity of 170,000 residents. The ARA team looks after not only the ARA systems, but also a further twelve kilometers of association collectors including two pumping stations. Since last year, the system has also been supplied with solar power – by means of a PV system on two roofs. More than half of the electrical energy required by the ARA was previously met by “converting” the digester gas produced.
The waste water association has existed since 1965. Initially, the sewers of the five municipalities of Hohenems, Götzis, Altach, Koblach and Mäder had to be built – then the construction of the association’s sewage treatment plant for the Hohenems region followed. The sewage treatment plant has been in operation since 1981 and processes an average of around six million m³ of wastewater annually. This is reliably accomplished by a relatively small but experienced and motivated team.
What does the ARA do anyway?
“We have been impressively demonstrating the core task of cleaning wastewater for many years with very good discharge and operating values. But the well-rehearsed team is the be-all and end-all,” says plant manager Paul Strobl proudly. The Vorarlberg environmental association is responsible for the disposal of the resulting sewage sludge. In the event of a blackout, the population can also feel safe, because a corresponding emergency power generator ensures that the ARA can continue to operate in the long term. Oily and greasy substances in particular are often already deposited in the canal. These loosen periodically and then put a strain on pumping stations and other facilities. As a result, the canals have to be checked more often and flushed out if necessary. “It would be better to collect these substances at home and take the containers to the ARA from time to time instead of disposing of them down the house drains,” says Strobl.
Corona virus detectable in wastewater!
There is also another interesting finding to report about the influx: The corona events in the association area are being recorded. Regardless of more or fewer tests and incidence rates, the ARA inflow gives you a real corona value, which is also taken into account by the responsible authorities and institutions.
You can find more information on this in a study by the University of Innsbruck at: www.uibk.ac.at/de/newsroom/2022/virusVARIENTS-IM- WASTEWATER-reliably-detectable
“With the help of the population, our work is made easier – and saves money!”
“If the population really helps, we have significantly less work,” says the ARA manager. In particular, the periodic cleaning of the screens in the screening house and also repairs due to impermissible substances in the inlet are among the more tiresome tasks of the ARA team.
“If a wide variety of materials such as tear-resistant wet wipes, bandages, thread spools and other hygiene items or food leftovers, plastics, etc. were no longer flushed down the toilet but disposed of in the appropriate garbage bags, that would be a huge relief for our staff,” says Strobl further. “It also reduces the amount of screenings that need to be removed, which would mean a huge cost savings – ultimately for the taxpayer.”
Saving resources is becoming more and more important!
Lower water consumption by each individual would also help to save costs and protect the environment, as this significantly reduces the amount of sewage treatment plant inflow. This means that less pumping and treatment is required.
“An increased awareness alone that everything you do has an effect certainly contributes to the ARA operating more smoothly,” Strobl continues.
How is the ARA organized?
The chairman of a sewage treatment plant association is usually the mayor of the local community – in our case the mayor of Hohenems, Dieter Egger.
The company is managed by works manager and managing director Paul Strobl, together with a team of six.
Such a sewage treatment plant is part of the critical infrastructure and is of course operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week – i.e. permanently.
Under www.arahohenems.at You can find more information about the wastewater association for the Hohenems region.
Waste water association in the Hohenems region