Case Study Source: The Joint U.S.-Brazil Initiative on Urban Sustainability, part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Approximately 30 percent of the population of Rio de Janeiro lives in Planning Area 5 (AP-5) of the City, but in this West Zone region today only 50 percent of sewage is captured and only 4 percent is treated. Untreated sewage often infiltrates the drainage system and ends up in the Guanabara and Sepetiba Bays, iconic water bodies of the metropolitan region. This pollution poses problems for humans and wildlife in the area, including negatively impacting the fishing industry. Exposed sewage and lack of treatment also poses health risks to communities in this region. To remedy these problems, the City has designed an innovative undertaking with the State of Rio de Janeiro and the State Company for Water and Wastewater (CEDAE) to leverage private-sector financing for services extension to the 21 neighborhoods in AP-5.
In 2007 the State, which usually oversees water and wastewater services, ceded responsibility for sanitation in this region of the City of Rio de Janeiro, which in 2011 signed an agreement with the State and CEDAE to offer sewage collection and treatment as a concession to private industry. While CEDAE will continue to provide water, the Foz/Saab consortium will undertake the largest sanitation project in Brazil, investing USD 856 million (R$ 1.6 billion) over 25 years. Foz/Saab will build nine treatment plants, 221 lifts, and an extensive connection network by 2022. The RioÁguas Foundation, an independent body linked to City Hall, will provide public oversight of this project, acting as the regulator for sewage collection in AP-5.
Environmental, Social, and Economic Benefits
This public-private venture-with private implementation and public oversight-will invest R$ 856 million over 25 years to improve citizen access to municipal services. This effort is intended to improve water quality in the bays by decreasing run-off, enhance biodiversity and biodiversity-dependent economic activities, and may decrease dengue and vector-borne disease through better drainage and water treatment.
International Relations, City of Rio de Janeiro