Aquafin has secured the first installment of €100m as part a new €200m loan arrangement with the European Investment Bank (EIB) for its water purification projects in Belgium.

The Flemish wastewater purification company will utilize the loan proceeds to further expand and optimize its water purification infrastructure in the Flanders region.

As per Aquafin general manager Jan Goossens, the EIB has served as the most significant investor, covering half of the funding needs of Aquafin’s projects. The Belgian firm has managed to get the remainder financing from institutional investors and other financers.

Goossens added: "We had to demonstrate that at least a quarter of the investment value of the projects for which we are requesting financing will have a clear positive impact on climate change. This condition is fully met by projects for separating rainwater from the waste water infrastructure and by optimisation projects that allow us to arm ourselves to deal with climate change.

“Projects that only involve linking pollutant loads to water purification do not meet the requirement, even though they do contribute towards a better living environment.”

The latest EIB loan is the tenth financing agreement with Aquafin since its founding in 1990.

EIB vice-president, responsible for Belgium, Pim van Ballekom said: "Our collaboration with Aquafin goes back a very long way and represents a clear example of a situation where European loans can have a big impact at the local level, often without many people being aware of it".

“The EIB has set itself the goal of awarding at least 25% of its loans to climate-related projects, so we are pleased with the high standards that Aquafin is maintaining in that area too."

Earlier in the month, Aquafin had announced its plans to upgrade the Schilde Wastewater Treatment Plant in the Antwerp province in Belgium with the ZeeLung Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor (MABR) and ZeeWeed membrane bioreactor (MBR) technologies from GE.

Image: From left to right: Jan Goossens, General Manager of Aquafin, Pim van Ballekom, EIB Vice-president, and Erik Matthys, Chairman of the Board of Aquafin. Photo: courtesy of European Investment Bank.