An exemplary water service to meet the sanitary emergency in Santiago in Chile

Modernising a particularly outdated water distribution and sewerage network to give over 6 million inhabitants access to drinking water was the challenge taken up by SUEZ in Santiago in Chile in 1999. Above and beyond setting up efficient infrastructures, SUEZ contributed to resolving some serious sanitary, social and environmental issues and improved the quality of life of the inhabitants of a Chilean megalopolis in the grip of rapid population growth
The mission

Make drinking water and protect the resource

In 1999, the megalopolis of Santiago in Chile entrusted SUEZ with the management of its drinking water supply and wastewater treatment services.

SUEZ set in motion a large plan to modernise the ageing, undersized water distribution and sewerage network for a town which faced to a very strong economic and demographic growth. The objective:

  • Give access to drinking water to over 6 million inhabitants, almost one third of the country’s population,
  • Restore the water quality in the natural environment.

The SUEZ mission: extend the drinking water distribution network and restrict the discharge of untreated wastewater into the environment to resolve the serious sanitary, environmental and social consequences with which Grand Santiago is faced to.

municipalities no longer had a drinking water supply
of wastewater was treated previously
Our answer

Modernise the water distribution and sewerage system, preserve quality of life

SUEZ set up a massive investment programme to:

  • extend the drinking water distribution network,
  • collect and treat 100% of wastewater by 2009 (target almost achieved by 2006),
  • restore the water quality in the natural environment.

Our top priority was to address the sanitary emergency by giving access to good-quality water to all. We modernised and extended the drinking water network by 137 km over the course of 4 years in collaboration with the Department for Public Works.

Through the ambitions operations undertaken by SUEZ in Santiago in Chile the megalopolis benefits from a sewerage system tailored to its needs to preserve the water source and take on the challenge of sustainable growth.


The results

Whereas barely 3% of wastewater was treated in 1999, SUEZ developed a particularly ambitious plan for the sewerage network:

  • The sewerage network was extended by 95 km from 2004 and 644 km of pipes were repaired or replaced.
  • Over 20 wastewater treatment plants were built in 10 years. La Farfana, which treats approximately 50% of Santiago’s wastewater, is one of the 5 largest wastewater plants in the world.
  • The biogas from the sludge digestion produces over 60% of the electricity needed to run the Mapocho wastewater plant and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Today, 100% of the population of Santiago in Chile and the surrounding area benefit from a highly efficient sewerage system which considerably improves the quality of life. Enteric infections and unpleasant odors have been significantly reduced and some districts of the city have been completely refurbished.
of drinking water produced
of wastewater collection network
of wastewater treated