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José Miguel Belloso, O&M Manager for conventional plants


José Miguel Belloso is an industrial technical engineer, specialist in mechanical engineering, who graduated from the University of Navarre. He also acquired an MBA in sustainable economics from EOI, the Spanish industrial management school. Before joining ACCIONA Agua, where he worked 15 years, he was a management and supply engineer for the community of Mairaga in a public company dedicated to the management of water supply, sewage treatment and solid urban waste management in the central district of the Navarre region.

If you told José Miguel Bellos that, by the end of his career, he would manage drinking water treatment plants in all corners of the earth, he wouldn’t have believed you. This 44-year-old Navarran, a native of Tafalla, has spent the best part of his working life dedicated to ensuring people receive their water; not any old water, but water in optimum condition and vital for good health. Manager of Operations and Maintenance for ACCIONA Agua’s conventional water treatment plants, he has over 20 years’ experience in the field. His work in the O&M department varies from operations, maintenance and service contract management to the preparation of commercial offers, works management for sewage and drinking water treatment plants, and customer relations, among other things. Almost all the water drunk in the north of Spain, for example, depends on José Miguel and his team. And fate decreed that he would also be managing not only plants in Navarre or Biscay, but the Mundaring DWTP in Australia and, soon, another in Saint John, Canada.

What are your main roles? 

Generally, my post at ACCIONA Agua involves ma-naging the different Operations and Maintenance contracts, not only for drinking water plants but also the department’s sewage plants. I would describe it as managing little companies, each one of the contracts in itself representing a business, involving anything from customer relations to staff.

What does drinking water treatment consist of?

The purification of water for human consumption is a physical and chemical process and the so-called conventional treatment plants are normally designed in the following way: the capture part, where raw water is received from the reservoir or river, etc., is where we add chemical reaction agents such as coagulants and flocculants to help suspended particles form floccules, which, due to their weight, can be eliminated in the next stage, which is decantation. The final stage consists of sand filters and is the so-called purification treatment. By adding chlorine to this filtered water, we comply with the regulations for supplying drinking water to the population.

What function does a DWTP have?

It is indicative of our society, as I see it. It happens to us all that we travel abroad on holiday and they tell us not to drink the tap water. Developed societies are used to regarding the provision of drinking water as automatic and beyond argument, the treatment systems and distribution networks guaranteeing supply at any given moment. The society in which we live has made water supply a right, but we quickly forget that, not so long ago, many loca-lities in our countries suffered restric-tions in summer.

On the other hand, we have to remember that potable water is not only for drinking, but a continuous supply is very important to the industrial sector, since production stoppages for water outages can cost companies millions.From the health standpoint, supplying potable water in line with the legislation in force minimizes risk of disease and viruses that can be transmitted from drinking it. To sum up, a drinking water treatment plant is a guarantee of our wellbeing, and we often forget it’s a luxury in many developing countries.

A drinking water treatment plant is a guarantee of our wellbeing, and we often forget it’s a luxury in many developing countries

Having known a few DWTP managers over the years, I would say that, as well as the obvious technical competence, the head of a DWTP needs to be aware of the importance and responsibility of the role. The responsibility for a basic supply of the required quality lies in their hands.

Which ACCIONA Agua DWTPs are you responsible for?

Presently in the department, we operate and maintain a total of 20 DWTPs, from the biggest in Mundaring (Western Australia), with a capacity of 2m3/s, to the smallest at 5 liters/second.

Different technologies have been applied to purification and desalination. Is Spain an advanced country as far as wa-ter treatment is concerned? 

Spain, and ACCIONA Agua as the ex-ponent of its water treatment industry, are state of the art in three fields: des-alination, drinking water purification and sewage treatment. More specifi-cally, in my opinion we do not have to look further than the recent awards we have won in far-away, technologi-cally advanced countries like Australia and Canada, to see that we are at the vanguard of this technology.

What does ACCIONA Agua bring to the design and cons-truction of DWTPs compared to other companies in the sector? Why do our international cus-tomers choose us? 

International customers come to ACCIONA Agua as a technological company, but also because we offer an integrated solution. We have great knowledge and long experience in all areas of the process, from design to construction, commissioning and ope-rations, without forgetting R&D and in-novation. The latter is what makes the difference. We innovate to differentiate ourselves from the competition and optimize all our processes and results.


Water for drinking 

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