Good practice

Estonian water utility's eco-management efforts

Estonian water utility's eco-management efforts
© qq47182080, image #80368175, 2017, source:
Energy, Water, Waste, Carbon
Waste management and recycling
High cost
Annual saving:
15 - 20%
Resource savings: Energy:
Meets significant part of energy needs using biogas produced on-site
Resource savings: Raw material:
Significantly less chlorine used in water treatment (e.g. from 251 tonnes in 1996 to 49 tonnes in 2010)
Associated cost savings: Energy:
20 - 25%
Associated cost savings: Waste:
50 - 80%
Size of company:
Medium (less than 250)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:

Long-term collective effort gets the results

  • A raft of environmental measures form part of Tallinn water utility's EMAS strategy
  • Today, it uses 88 % of biogas produced on-site thanks to waste separation measures introduced

Tallinna Vesi is the largest water utility company in Estonia, providing drinking water and wastewater disposal services to customers in the capital city and its surrounding areas. 

Tallinna Vesi has worked to improve its environment performance and today complies with the EU's Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), and with the international environmental management standard ISO 14001. Investment in extending the sewerage networks have been essential in minimising potential environmental risks associated with cesspits and for improving the living environment of city residents.

Key benefits

Environmental measures introduced by the utlity include significant reductions in the chlorine used during water treatment, e.g. in 1996, 251 tonnes of chlorine was used which was cut back to 49 tonnes by 2010. Another measure focused on reusing wastewater sludge, a by-product from the treatment process, which Tallinna Vesi achieved.

Today, more than 15 types of waste, including biodegradables, are collected separately from mixed municipal waste. And biogas produced by the wastewater treatment plant is used on-site for operating the gas turbine or for heat production. Now, the utility company uses 88 % of biogas produced on-site.

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