Energy production from a wastewater treatment plant

  • 2018-07-26 00:00:00
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  • Main leader : Syndicat de traitement des eaux usées Saône-Beaujolais
  • Type of initiative : Initiative involving different people (collective, etc.)
  • Belleville (Rhône)
  • Rue de la Serve de Vigne - 69220 Belleville
  • Start date : janvier 2013

The CITEAU building has been eco-designed to save energy. It is equipped with a green roof that improves insulation, biodiversity and landscape integration. Its lighting is mostly natural via skylights, and it is heated by recovering the waste energy contained in the effluents.

In 2012 a feasibility study confirmed the possibility of extending this heat recovery system and allowing a nearby property programme to benefit from it.

Since 2014, the station has been supplying the first phase of a 9,000 m² LCB (Low Consumption Building) project called "La Villa Durabo", or 88 housing units, offices and shops. To do this, heat sales contracts have been drawn up between the owners and the wastewater treatment syndicate. This system is now being expanded.

In addition, sewage from the plant is used for agricultural composting and the sands are washed to be reused.

The one-hectare plot of land surrounding the treatment plant has been converted into a biodiversity zone, with an organic orchard, ponds, a meadow, nesting boxes and insect hotels. Maintenance is carried out without using any fossil energy by two ponies and a flock of barnacle geese. The land is watered using purified water.

Qualitative benefits

  • A reproducible, innovative project: This facility, the first of its kind in France, is replicable in all wastewater treatment plants and in 2013 it received a "Marianne d'Or de la République" award for being innovative, exemplary and reproducible.
  • Synergies with the surrounding area.
  • Educational: The plant opens its doors, especially to schools, to show them how its different functions - sanitation, energy production and biodiversity reserve - operate. It displays the water cycle as a virtuous circle.
  • Showcasing the treatment plant 
  • Taking biodiversity into account Creation of a biodiversity zone to compensate for the urbanization and artificialization caused by the construction of the facility.
  • Contribution to the energy transition by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energies and with low energy buildings

Stages of the initiative

2011: CITEAU commissioned

2012: feasibility study on the possibility of creating a heat network for the property programme

2014: The first buildings are heated by CITEAU


  • A strong political will of the elected representatives
  • The disadvantages due to the location of CITEAU near the town centre helped to make it an ambitious and exemplary project
  • The ability to find financing


Convince partners (stakeholders of the property programme: developer, builder, buyers, etc.), and financiers (the water board, ADEME, the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region and the Rhône Department).

Areas of activity

  • Energy


  • Water
  • Biodiversity
  • Renewable energies
  • Energy efficiency
  • Unavoidable and recovered energy
  • Heating networks

Technical resources

  • Various technical facilities are used for heat recovery
  • Low energy buildings
  • Biodiversity area around CITEAU: ponds, orchard, meadow, insect hotels, nesting boxes, etc.


  • Agence de l’Eau, ADEME, Région Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes et Département du Rhône


The project was awarded grants
 Collective action
 Regional planning
 Regional cooperation
 Infrastructure and service sharing
 Wastewater treatment plant

Author of the page

  • Other international initiatives

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    In the same themes

     Collective action
     Regional planning
     Regional cooperation
     Infrastructure and service sharing
     Wastewater treatment plant