Botafogo Beach, in Rio, should be clean in 5 years, says concessionaire

When studying the conditions of the auction for the sanitation service in Rio de Janeiro, Alexandre Bianchini, president of Águas do Rio , made eight boat trips through Guanabara Bay.

The water mirror is not an area of ​​direct investment by the company, which won the bid to operate in all its surroundings. But it will be one of the main beneficiaries of the works to expand the collection and treatment of sewage that is currently discharged into the bay.

)”If we don’t reach the goal of recovering Guanabara Bay, nothing we are doing will make sense”, he says.

Bianchini claims that he fulfills the promise of depollution made almost 16 anos is a market asset for Aegea, parent company of Águas do Rio.

“We were looking for a project that could project Aegea internationally. Show a work that was recognized”, he says.

He is so confident of achieving it that he promises Botafogo beach, at the foot of the Sugar Loaf Mountain, which can be bathed in five years, a deadline for the installation of a belt around the Guanabara Bay to block pollution.

She was unfit for bathing in , 8% of the days between 2015 and 2019, according to the report of the Guanabara Bay Basin Committee.

Why believe that now will the bay be unpolluted?

These are different models. what existed it was a non-refundable money that would be applied without supervision, goals and nothing. Now it’s a new phase. We now have goals to meet. We will be inspected and, if we do not meet the targets, we may be punished, expelled from the contract.

Now there is an obligation to Be done. It is not an ideological issue. It is an obligation to do.

The contract does not mention environmental goals for Guanabara Bay. Does the dealership have its own goals?

If we do not reach the objective of recovering Guanabara Bay, nothing we are doing will make sense. It will be ripping money. How to talk to the population that entered the city of Rio de Janeiro, after so many promises, and fall into the same trap?

It’s not just up to us, but the spotlight is ours. The issue of sanitary sewage is the biggest vector of pollution in the bay.

But let’s not sit back and wait for seeing municipality A or B move in relation to garbage, irregular occupation. Let’s report. The objective is the recovery of Guanabara Bay.

There is a debate about the belt [entorno da baía] and the postponement of the expansion of the sewage system in eight municipalities [Belford Roxo, Duque de Caxias, Itaboraí, Mesquita, Nilópolis, Nova Iguaçu, Rio de Janeiro e São Gonçalo]. What does this postponement mean?

This is not a Brazilian model. It worked in Europe. For a long time they invested in the separator [absoluto, modelo que liga as casas ao sistema exclusivo para esgoto]. Then they came to the conclusion that it didn’t. They adopted the double model [que combina o separador absoluto e o sistema tempo seco].

The dry weather [que combina o separador absoluto e o sistema tempo seco] safe when you have a clandestine connection or other problem. Rivers were cleaned up in Europe with this dual system.

Without a doubt, the quickest effect is the sewage collector. dry weather. And it makes the population think: “Man, this business is working. What is my role in making this work even better?”. People connect with the problem and seek to participate in the solution.

Will the works on the usual sewage system wait five years to start? No. After five years, there are seven left to reach 52% of sewage collected and treated throughout Rio de Janeiro. There won’t be time to do it in seven. The plan is to solve the problem of large collectors over five years, but at the same time make interconnections.

also investments in treatment plants. They treat much less sewage than the installed capacity.

Some experts say that the dry weather collector does not prevent the population from having contact with sewage in areas without sanitation, with ditches. How do you see this criticism?

Dry weather collection improves environment condition faster. A project with dry weather collection throughout Guanabara Bay in five years and 50% of sewage collected and treated in 12, in a city of more than 814 years of trouble, is extremely aggressive and challenging. There has not been a process as aggressive as this in the world.

Has Guanabara Bay cut the line in terms of residents [quando a concessão decidiu acelerar o fim do despejo de dejetos, mas adiou a ampliação de rede de coleta em oito cidades]?

No, the project foresees an investment in the first five years of R$ 7.5 billion in the concession area as a whole . For the bay, it is R$ 2.7 billion. There are almost R$ 5 billion to solve other problems. Lack of water in Baixada [Fluminense], São Gonçalo and the north is very large.

The contract does not include favelas in the target of 90%, but foresees an investment of R$ 1.2 million in the communities of Rio de Janeiro. How many people will this serve?

We will have to assemble with the city hall which places will be urbanized.

What about favelas in other cities?

The cities of Baixada Fluminense face other problems beyond the communities. The centers of Nova Iguaçu and Duque de Caxias lack water. But the entire area is within the target.

In what state did the concessionaire find the system?

We found a system that surprises on the one hand. The works that were carried out in the decade of 2000 and that are sufficient to supply water for the next 50 years old. There was a lot of thought back then on a huge growth in Rio de Janeiro and the work was done with this in mind and should make the city proud.

At the same time, there are issues of completely deteriorated equipment, which needs to be recovered. Recover the potential of the existing structure already implemented, without putting a nail in it, and putting it to work %, the population will already clearly feel the change.

The result will be visible . You won’t even need to do an analysis of the water in Guanabara Bay to know if it has improved.

How are you planning to carry out works in places with drug trafficking and militia activities?

The problem of violence is not unique to Rio de Janeiro. We work in the North, Northeast, Midwest and South. In all these regions there is a problem of violence. Rio de Janeiro is more latent by the projection of the city itself.

And how is it resolved?

We are not harming anyone. We are not entering into a confrontation with violence.

How long will it take to say that Guanabara Bay is unpolluted?

We have the first five-year goal, but it doesn’t come with a touch of a magic wand. It’s something that evolves. Restoring the existing structure is going to have an impact. Build dry weather collectors. Start treating more sewage. This will evolve over time in a condition that will be very clear for the population to improve.

Which beach that no one enters today will we be able to enter five years from now?

I would reverse that sentence. Which beach [da baía] will you not go to in five years?

Will they all be bathable? Botafogo beach?

There for sure. The biggest difficulty is the area closest to Ilha do Governador.

And when will we be able to close the Ramos swimming pool because the beach is back?

The project ends in

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