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Protecting Lives

The Minami-Gamo Purification Center, treating wastewater for 700,000 people in Sendai, had severe tsunami damage. Sharing a sense of responsibility for this key infrastructure, we helped to restore emergency systems.

Rapid Makeshift Restoration Keeps City Functioning

The tsunami wreaked pipes, wastewater intake equipment, pumping towers, machinery, and electrical equipment. Much equipment was destroyed.

The Minami-Gamo Purification Center in Sendai, the biggest wastewater treatment plant in northeastern Japan, processes sewage and gray water for 700,000 people. The tsunami caused massive damage to many treatment plants on the coast.
The loss of water purification, among the most important urban systems, seriously impacted daily life. Center director Keiji Ishikawa recalls that when the disaster struck they were working on a business continuity plan (BCP) and reviewing cooperation. "We lost communications with most engineering companies, but by midnight Hitachi and other companies went to City Hall to offer their help."
Immediately after the tsunami, sluice gates were opened to prevent flow back into the city. "Some nearby towns limited sewage to prevent backflow. In Sendai, the strong sense of duty and hard work of our staff and cooperating companies prevented backflow," says Ishikawa. "Working with Hitachi and other partners early on to assess the damage really sped up restoration." Creating an equipment restoration plan came next. Blueprints and office equipment had been washed away, and debris filled the buildings. Hitachi engineers worked with center staff under trying conditions to check equipment, write a detailed report, and develop a recovery plan.

Going Global Based on Experience Gained from the Disaster

Sewage treatment began just after the disaster, followed in March 2012 by medium-level microorganism treatment to improve water quality. We restored an ultra-high voltage substation and sludge incineration equipment. We will help with full restoration in 2015.

"Last year, 159 groups and 2,000 people came to visit," notes Ishikawa, "probably the last time a sewage plant of 400,000 tonnes per day for 700,000 will be rebuilt in Japan, but many world cities need large-scale processing, as well as areas with poor sanitation. It would be great if Hitachi uses their experience globally gained from restoring our center to combine solar power and energy efficiency."

Our Social Infrastructure Business covers water and other urban systems. With a strong social responsibility, we develop technologies and gain experience for safe, comfortable living.