08. Commitment to the environment

Emissions, effluents, and waste

Direct emissions from fuel consumption

These emissions come from the SyV Group’s fuel usage in the course of its activities. To quantify these emissions of greenhouse gases in 2011, we have used the conversion factors published in the document entitled “Conversion factors for final energy - primary energy and emission factors for CO2-2010 for carburantes and fuels” published by the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving (IDAE) in November 2011.

Emisiones directas

Indirect emissions from electricity consumption

The externally sourced power consumed by the SyV Group in Spain, is distributed by the Spanish mainland power grid, as shown in the following graph for 2011, which also shows emissions of the main greenhouse gases.


Sacyr Vallehermoso calculates the indirect greenhouse gas emissions (CO2, SO2 and NOx from the electricity consumed at its work centres. To do so, it uses the annual equivalent emissions figures for CO2, SO and NOx by kWh produced by the Spanish electricity production system provided by the Adena-WWF electricity monitor for 2011.

Emisiones indirectas Emisiones indirectas 2011 Emisiones CO2 Somague

The only emissions of ozone-depleting substances generated by Sacyr Vallehermoso are those relating to potential leaks from its air conditioning equipment. However, adequate maintenance keeps these at a minimum. SyV currently has some air conditionings units of its own using R22 gas, but these are gradually being replaced by units emitting gases that do not harm the ozone layer and which have low global warming potential.


Some of the Group’s operations produce liquid effluents, whose disposal complies with applicable legal requirements, as well as the terms stipulated by the related authorisations.

Effluent wastewater in the construction business consists of greywater from domestic processes and water for work execution. Its destination varies depending on where the activity is conducted. Normally, the water is released to authorised public hydraulic points (watersheds and subsoil) and to the sewage network.

The water used in construction work sometimes requires treatment prior to discharge into a collector. The best available techniques are always sought and adopted, so avoiding the environmental impact that direct discharge would entail.

This is the case with tunnelling construction works, where a large amount of water is generated in the excavation stage. High priority is always accorded to solving this problem, and purification systems are often designed and installed as an intermediate step before discharge.

In some cases, Waste Water Treatment Plants (WWTP) are installed, and in others, settling ponds.

The services businesses that generate waste are the end-to-end water cycle (treatment and desalination), wastewater treatment plants, electricity generation, and cleaning and waste collection. As in construction, the outlet of the liquid waste varies depending on the process that generates it, the most common being the sea, the sewage network and authorised public hydraulic points.

The process carried out by the environmental services area in its waste treatment installations take place without discharges. This is due to the design of the facilities, which allow leachates to recirculate and evaporate without needing to be discharged outside.

This recirculation system is found in the composting-sorting plant in Aranda de Duero, where the water from the composting process is reused in tunnels to water the composting strings of the maturing shed in the summer.

In the Abajas composting and packaging treatment plant, the leachates released by watering the composting tunnels are recirculated, after analysis, thus enabling the leachates to evaporate. The wastewater is analysed systematically and according to an analysis plan in order to verify that all legal requirements applicable and those of the related authorisations are met, thus ensuring the quality of the waste.

Estimated water discharge in 2011 at Sacyr (Spain and Chile), Testa and Valoriza España came to 29,476,744 m3. This calculation was made taking into account the return coefficient included in the Tagus Hydrological Plan (enacted by Royal Decree 1664/1998, of 24 July, approving the Hydrological Plans for river basins).

For Somague’s construction and services activities, the estimated volume of water discharged in 2011 was 161,204 m3. In Valoriza Energía’s facilities, specifically CELVI, CEPUENTE, COMPLEJO FABRIL DE OLEXTRA and EXTRAGOL, COMPLEJO FABRIL DE SEDEBISA and CELARODA, discharge in 2011 totalled 48,924 m3, channelled into the public water system and sewer network. This precise information on discharge volumes is obtained using the flow meters installed in the facilities.

Accidental spills

The SyV Group operates an information system that records all emergencies arising in the course of its business. Emergencies include hazardous substance leaks, pipe breakages (collectors, supply pipes, etc.), fires, and so forth.

The SyV Group’s reporting system registered four accidental fuel spills in 2011 in the construction business. Two of these spills were due to a fault in a machine that caused an oil spillage; another spill was caused by the breakage of a fuel tank in a power generator and the fourth was caused by a missing protection tray in a fuel tank, causing a spill during the refill process. In all four situations, the spill was quickly collected and taken to the hazardous waste storage area, to be handed over to authorised managers of hazardous waste. A retention tank was also placed below the tank that did not have one. Estimated spill volume is 18 litres of fuel and 3 litres of oil.

As has happened in previous years, in the street cleaning services provided by the SyV Group in Moratalaz, some machinery parts (hoses, hydraulic elbows and joints) broke, causing minor oil spills onto the road. The regular use of the machinery and wear and tear of the parts caused the problem. Although adequate maintenance is provided, parts may occasionally break unexpectedly. A fire in a sweeper also caused a spill of hazardous substances on the road. In line with the procedure set out by the Madrid town council, spills were reported to the authority’s emergency cleaning service (Selur for its initials in Spanish), which cleaned the affected area. Eight such events occurred in 2011 and in seven cases the accident was caused by broken hoses. The volume of spilt oil stood at approximately 300 litres.

In the road upkeep and maintenance activity there were small spills on the road caused by traffic accidents and lorry breakdowns. These spills were subsequently collected and properly dealt with.

The design and implementation of suitable preventive measures and corrective procedures means that spills occur infrequently and are readily manageable when they do arise.

We list below our range of regularly implemented preventive measures, tailored to the type of work being undertaken, the location, features of the environment, and so forth, to prevent undesired environmental impacts caused by chemical, oil and fuel spills.

• Placing of trays and of geotextile and plastic, below the power generators.

• Placement of sediment-retaining barriers, which prevent any type of accidental spill from reaching watersheds.

• Placement of storage facilities outside permeable sites where accidental leaks could contaminate underground water supplies.

• Equipment of storage tanks with liners or containment tanks and placement away from sensitive areas (e.g. near watersheds, reservoirs, sewage network).

• Scuppers are protected with geotextile to keep out solid construction waste (stones, sand, waste wood, etc.).

• Sealing of drums, tins, jugs, etc., as well as deposit valves.

• Spout washing areas are waterproofed and, on some occasions,are gunited.

• Execution of watertight areas for containing possible spills of chemicals and/or hazardous products.

• Anti-turbidity barrier to restrict the spread of fine particulate matter and floating elements to the sewer network.

• Installation of geotextile to serve as a containment barrier.

• Cement mixers are washed in containers surrounded by drip boxes to address spills and leaks.

• Hazardous waste storage areas are paved, sheltered from rain and suitably marked. Each type of waste is stored in a different receptacle and correctly labelled. The storage period can never be longer than six months, as established by current law. Receptacles are made from suitable standardapproved materials that are resistant to alteration by or hazardous combination with the contents, and the receptacle interior and locks are designed and manufactured to prevent leakage.

• Workplaces are equipped with signage indicating preventive and corrective measures to be taken in the event of an environmental emergency (e.g., a spill or leak).

The SyV Group has measures in place to prevent any type of incident and specific measures to minimise the consequences of potential chemical substance, oil and fuel spills. These measures are disclosed to both the employees carrying out the activity and to partners in the Good Environmental Practices Manual and in the Environmental Emergency Plan established at each work centre.