In Uruguay, a paper production plant innovates to benefit the environment

To optimise operations at UPM’s paper pulp production plant, SUEZ implemented cutting-edge technological solutions to produce high-quality water and treat effluents. With better production processes, UPM was able to produce its own energy, cut its resource consumption and significantly reduce its environmental impact.
The mission

Produce High-Quality Industrial Water and Optimise Effluent Treatment

The Uruguayan paper pulp production company UPM has an innovative cellulose production plant a few kilometres from Fray Bentos. It exports its production to Europe and Asia.


Located on the banks of the Uruguay River, UPM is committed to minimising the environmental impact of its production process. In 2007, it asked SUEZ to be responsible for supplying water to its production plant and treating its effluents.

of paper pulp produced every year
Wastewater is treated and returned to the environment with less than 5 kg COD per tonne of pulp produced
Less than 20 m3 of wastewater per tonne of pulp produced
Our solution

Reducing Resource Consumption and Producing Energy

The solutions provided by SUEZ for UPM’s paper pulp production plant had to meet high environmental targets:

  • reducing pollution risks
  • protecting resources and encouraging biodiversity
  • reducing energy consumption.

Optimising facilities to minimise environmental impact

SUEZ transformed industrial water production and effluent treatment facilities:

  • basic and detailed equipment engineering
  • supervision of work and functional tests
  • implementation of an Operation and Maintenance training programme
  • technical assistance.

Reducing resource consumption and controlling discharge

SUEZ implemented cutting-edge procedures to improve production processes, in compliance with applicable regulations:

  • industrial water production: coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation and filtration
  • effluent treatment: biological treatment using activated sludge
  • continuous monitoring of effluents discharged into the natural environment

In the interest of transparency, these tests are carried out not only by UPM but also by Uruguay’s Technological Laboratory.

Producing energy to be self-sufficient

UPM’s plant produces its own energy to supply its paper pulp production lines:

  • Wood residues from combustion are converted into energy
  • Surplus energy produced is reinjected into the national power grid.
The reuslts

The skills and technological expertise provided by SUEZ enabled UPM to optimise its operations in order to minimise the environmental impact of its activities:

  • producing high-quality industrial water to cover all the needs of the paper pulp production plant
  • meeting the plant’s demineralised water requirements
  • treating all discharge generated by the paper pulp production plant and its employees
  • respecting parameters set by the DINAMA (Dirección Nacional de Medio Ambiente)


Today, the plant produces enough energy to supply 150,000 consumers:

  • 75% of energy production is used for paper pulp production
  • the remaining 25% supplies the national power grid managed by UTE (Usinas y Trasmisiones Eléctricas).
 Industrial water treatment capacity
Effluent treatment capacity
of energy produced in the country is generated by the production plant