Water, a shared resource that must be preserved
Guided by the Water & Aquatic Habitats charter since 2011, the water policy implemented by the Group and its divisions supports efforts to promote rational water usage and preserve resources.
he charter’s scope includes water consumption management, preventing risks of harm or depletion, ensuring consistent good practices and fostering innovation.
Effective consumption management – a shared goal
Measures to reduce water consumption are an integral part of the divisions’ sustainable development action plans.
For example, the QSE policies conducted by APRR-AREA’s operational departments include targets on promoting rational usage and reducing the environmental impacts of business activities.
The Infrastructures division is continuing its actions to conserve water resources. On quarrying sites, the water used to wash quarried materials is recycled. Furthermore, waste water released into the environment and groundwater levels on the sites are checked monthly or on a continuous basis at some sites. In a spirit of transparency, the results obtained are passed to local authorities through participation in local co-operation and monitoring commissions.
Preserving water resources remains a key feature of Eiffage Construction’s ISO 14001 certified systems, achieved by organising worksites with stipulated targets in terms of cutting consumption, recycling water and preventing water pollution. Worker awareness is raised notably by means of posters displayed on worksites and information provided by regional environment correspondents. Translations of these posters are available at the division's European subsidiaries, notably in Polish. The ACV life cycle analyser is used to identify sensitive points for the eco-design of structures and the impact of materials on resources.
At Clemessy, water consumption is monitored on a site by site basis in order to detect peaks in consumption and/or anomalies so that corrective measures can be taken to help save resources.
Preventing pollution risks and implementing best practices
APRR and AREA are implementing their multi-year programmes for the protection of water resources into their 2014-2018 planning contracts. Two sites – located on the A6 motorway in Saône-et-Loire and Côte-d’Or – were selected for APRR and two others, on the A43, for AREA. The main aims are to install leak-tight collecting systems and runoff water treatment units in sensitive areas. It is also planned to improve waste water treatment in motorway rest areas.
As part of a continuous improvement strategy, equipment operating tests are conducted several times a year and drills involving simulated spillages in real-life conditions are carried out to test the effectiveness of the relevant technical systems – such as ditches, basins and floating booms – and the organisational measures implemented. Basin flowcharts and equipment data sheets were updated in 2015 to optimise pollution containment operations.
The various entities of APRR’s Operations division use a framework document that defines water drainage structure design and maintenance rules and sets target service levels. This document is used in conjunction with internal asset management tools such as the Amadeus and Aquarius databases. Additional operational support is provided by other items, including a guide to routine servicing, specialist maintenance and renovation of rainwater management facilities.
Monitoring drainage systems
Following surveys conducted in 2014 for the renovation of rest areas, APRR standardised the monitoring of standalone and joint waste water drainage structures early in 2015. A single standard form is now used to report malfunctions and prioritise remedial work depending on the degree of the pollution hazard. Special forms have also been circulated for the inspection of rainwater drainage networks and basins, in line with the detailed inspection programme drawn up for those installations.
Eiffage Construction and the Infrastructures division issue their operational teams with water "toolkits" and a temporary drainage systems guide, designed to optimise the technical response to regulatory obligations and ensure the systematic implementation of best practices.
Protecting water at Europe largest solar power plant
When building the Cestas solar farm, in Gironde, south-west France, Eiffage's teams (from Clemessy and the Infrastructures distribution) paid particular attention to water management, to prevent any risk of polluting nearby wetland. Multiple precautions were adopted, including storing potential pollutants in isolation, creating designated plant cleaning areas equipped with spill retaining tanks, and regularly checking the final inspection ports in the discharge line leading to the public drainage system.
Innovating to optimise conservation
The treatment of water used to clean concrete-contaminated equipment before it is discharged is of key importance in preventing pollution and the divisions are constantly seeking more effective solutions.
Several divisions are testing or implementing techniques such as the systems for settling and collecting concrete laitance on urban worksites at Eiffage Construction and the use of carbon dioxide (recycled CO2) to adjust the pH of water used to wash concrete-contaminated tools for the Infrastructures and Construction divisions.
Modul’AP ® pour tous
Designed by Eiffage Travaux Publics, Modul’AP® – a temporary worksite draining solution using straw-based filters – is an industrialised tool that is adaptable to various site configurations and reusable. It has been in use on the division’s worksites since 2013. The awareness of employees was raised on the basis of feedback and recommendations in 2014 through 15-minute environment and workshop briefs focused on temporary drainage and accidental spillages. The aim is to promote the systematic use of this solution and to standardise practices.
Modul’AP® received the IDRRIM Infrastructures prize for mobility and biodiversity in 2014, in the “clever innovation” category.