The Cannes region's wastewater treatment plant of the future is already there!

In Cannes, SUEZ designed, built and now operates Aquaviva, one of the first carbon-neutral wastewater treatment plants in the world. The challenge was to address the specificities of eight local municipalities* and ensure the long-term water quality of Golfes de Lérins (Alpes-Maritimes). Aquaviva provides optimum wastewater treatment and excellent, long-term environmental performance.
The mission

Protecting the marine environment: Aquaviva, at the cutting edge of technology

The Syndicat Intercommunal d’Assainissement Unifié du Bassin Cannois (SIAUBC) signed a 20-year concession contract with SUEZ in 2009, covering the design, construction and operation of Aquaviva wastewater treatment plant. Aquaviva opened in Cannes in 2012, replacing the old wastewater treatment plant built in 1977, which no longer met performance requirements.
Our solution

Protecting the natural habitat

Aquaviva wastewater treatment plant processes wastewater from eight municipalities* in the Cannes region, or the equivalent of 300,000 local residents. Its capacity can be increased by 20% to meet seasonal fluctuations in population and to address an expected rise in the local population by 2040.

Aquaviva uses “Ultrafor”, a membrane bioreactor (MBR) ultrafiltration technology developed by SUEZ to remove pollution from wastewater. The ultrafiltration membrane pores are 10,000 times smaller than those of our skin. These membranes act as a physical barrier to retain particles, bacteria and pathogens (microorganisms, bacteria, viruses, etc.). The clean water can then be reused in the plant process, for watering parks and gardens, or for cleaning roads, or it can simply flow to the sea without endangering marine life. During storms, retention basins with a storage capacity of 11,500 m3 of wastewater also help to protect the natural habitat. Aquaviva therefore helps to protect the quality and diversity of the marine environment in the Golfes de Lérins Bay on the Côte d’Azur, and guarantees bathing water quality.

* Aquaviva treats wastewater from eight municipalities in the Cannes basin: Auribeau-sur-Siagne, Cannes, Le Cannet, Mandelieu-La Napoule, Mougins, Pégomas, La Roquette-sur-Siagne and Théoule-sur-Mer.

The results

Water as a source of energy: Aquaviva, a carbon-neutral plant

Designed according to French High Quality Environmental standards (HQE), Aquaviva is an impressive environmental and technological achievement. The plant's energy efficiency offers a "neutral" carbon footprint and shows that water and energy are a winning combination. Greenhouse gas emissions amounting to 269 tonnes CO2e a year (90% times less than the old plant) are completely offset by a range of technologies, making Aquaviva a carbon-neutral wastewater treatment plant.

Sludge from the treatment process is dried on site and reused for its high agronomic quality and calorific value. Heat pumps are used to recover calories from the wastewater and 1,700 m² of photovoltaic panels produce 280,000 kWh of electricity each year, which is equivalent to the average electricity consumption of a neighbourhood of 110 villas. This production makes it one of the biggest solar farms in the whole department. In addition, over 95% of the plant's water requirements are covered by reusing its treated water. Finally, Aquaviva is perfectly integrated in its coastal and tourist-focused environment. Its exterior walls are completely hidden by local species of plants and trees. The plant produces zero visual, olfactory and noise pollution.

Aquaviva is a lot more than a simple wastewater treatment plant; it draws on the latest technology to meet cutting-edge environmental standards. Aquaviva is the perfect example of a wastewater treatment plant for today's circular economy.

95 %

of the plant's water requirements are covered by reusing its treated water



of photovoltaic panels



annual electricity production