Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: As clean water for human consumption becomes a rare commodity, demand is growing for products and services to more efficiently recycle wastewater as well as purify rainwater and saltwater.

The water treatment market encompasses all activities aimed at collecting, purifying and discharging residential and industrial wastewater, stormwater and even saltwater in the natural environment or recirculating it for human use.

In 2017, the size of the French water treatment market was estimated at €1.13 billion. Most of the major French players, including leaders in the national and global market such as Veolia and Suez, are present in almost all market segments. Most of the investments focus on collective sanitation: of the €12.6 billion invested in wastewater treatment in 2013, 87% concerned collective sanitation, 10% industrial wastewater and less than 3% non-collective sanitation.

Wastewater management is mainly carried out in three different ways: collective sanitation, where wastewater is collected and transported to wastewater treatment plants collectively; the treatment of industrial water from factories; and autonomous or non-collective sanitation of households, managed by individual installations on each household not served by a public network. Finally, rainwater treatment is used in particular to avoid flooding in urban areas in case of heavy rainfall, but can also be used to recycle non-drinkable water.

As clean water for human consumption is becoming a rare commodity, products and services to more efficiently recycle wastewater as well as purify rain and salt water are becoming important to French households, creating opportunities for Wisconsin companies.

A new French law passed Aug. 3, 2018, enforces that municipal communities and agglomerations must have sanitation and water expertise. This transfer of knowledge will be mandatory as of Jan. 1, 2020. In some cases, municipalities that are members of municipal communities will be able to see this compulsory transfer postponed to January 1, 2026.

Wastewater refers to both sewage water (water from toilets) and grey water (water from the sink, kitchen, washing machine, etc.).  These waters cannot be released without treatment, as they are harmful to the environment.

There are two particular areas of opportunity for sewage treatment:

  • For the communal sewerage network, more efficient wastewater and sewage treatment using biological methods or chemicals as well as more efficient vanes and valve systems; however, U.S. companies will need to work closely with local partners that have established authority to offer such products and services.
  • For the non-collective sanitation equipment, commonly called autonomous or individual sanitation, efficient individual biological treatment solutions are needed for individual homeowners, as are methods of collecting and purifying water for human consumption that can be offered via local specialized distributors and installers.