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Market in numbers

Approximately half of the population has access to sewage network and only 60% of the sewage is treated. Within the Business Sweden study, municipalities were selected based on their potential for development of sanitation systems, which creates business opportunities for Swedish companies. The market analysis focused on the way companies within the steel, pulp & paper and food & beverages industries deal with wastewater treatment.

Most investments are made in the states of São Paulo and Minas Gerais

Business Sweden used macro criteria to narrow down the amount of municipalities from the total of 5 564 in Brazil. With financial resourced from the federal government, municipalities across the country have mapped the current situation and developed plans for investments in sanitation. Larger municipalities, such Juiz de Fora in Minas Gerais, are planning investments in their sewage network of around 130 million BRL. In the state of São Paulo, São Bernardo do Campo and Mogi das Cruzes are examples of municipalities planning high investments; of 24 and 13.5 million BRL respectively.

Selected municipalities in Minas Gerais:

  • Juiz de Fora with a population of 516 247 inhabitants, a GDP per capita of 14 379 BRL, has a sanitation plan and three ongoing projects. It will invest around 130 million BRL in wastewater treatment.
  • Itabira with a population of 109 783 inhabitants, a GDP per capita of 25 673 BRL, has a sanitation plan and 2 ongoing projects. It will invest around 20 million BRL in wastewater treatment.
  • Ouro Preto with a population of 70 281 inhabitants, a GDP per capita of 25 413 BRL, has a sanitation plan and seven ongoing projects. It will invest around 17 million BRL in 4 new wastewater treatment stations.
  • Muriaé with a population of 100 765 inhabitants, a GDP per capita of 8 800 BRL, has a sanitation plan and five ongoing projects. It will invest around 8 million BRL in four new water treatment stations.

Prioritized municipalities in São Paulo:

  • São Bernardo do Campo with a population of 765 463 inhabitants, a GDP per capita of 47 000 BRL, has a sanitation plan. It will invest around 24 million BRL in wastewater treatment.
  • Mogi das Cruzes with a population of 387 779 inhabitants, a GDP per capita of 25 000 BRL, has a sanitation plan. It will invest around 13.5 million BRL in waste water treatment.
  • Osasco with a population of 666 740 inhabitants, a GDP per capita 59 000 BRL, has a sanitation plan. It will invest around 6 million BRL in wastewater treatment.
  • Barueri with a population of 240 749 inhabitants, a GDP per capita of 133 000 BRL, has a sanitation plan. It will invest around 7 million BRL in wastewater treatment.
  • Cotia with a population of 201 150 inhabitants, a GDP per capita of 35 000 BRL, has a sanitation plan. It will invest around 2 million BRL in wastewater treatment.

Steel industry has largest reutilization rate compared to pulp & paper and food & beverages

In 2012, the reutilization rate for the steel industry was 96.5%. The sector captured about 3.5% of the total water used in the productive process. In the same year, the industry used a total of 4.9 billion m³ of freshwater. 75% of water is used in the cooling processes, 13% for pollution control and 12% to condition the material.

Four companies account for 81% of crude steel production and are concentrated to the Southeast region. Around 77% of production units use some type of biological treatment. Arcelor Mittal Brasil, for example, has invested more than 30 million BRL in water treatment equipment since 2001.

The average of water reuse was only 34% in the pulp & paper industry. In 2010, the total consumption of the sector was of 668 million m³. In the last 20 years, the industry reduced its relative water consumption from 80 to 25 m³ per ton of produced good. It is estimated that pulping process produces 62 million m³ of effluents a year. Companies such as Suzano and Klabin reuse around 34% of waste water. Meanwhile, Fibria is able to recycle 76%. These three companies control 64% of Brazilian market are located in the Mid-South region. In recent years, they invested around 6 million BRL each in management of freshwater and effluents.

The Southeast concentrates 40.6% of food & beverages industry with more than 17 000 companies established. Medium and large companies account for more than 75% of the total production value. Large companies manage to treat over 98% of water. Three companies hold around 80% of beverage industry and although they have been reducing water consumption, they reuse only around 20%. The reutilization and treatment of effluents is still low for most companies in this industry. The sector has experienced an average annual growth of 18% and attracts investment from water treatment companies.