Protection of the Venetian Lagoon


The Venice Port Authority takes part in numerous projects to reduce the impact of port activities on the waters of Venice and the lagoon. Major projects include:

  • stormwater runoff treatment;
  • construction of environmentally friendly quaysides;
  • the assessment of wave motion.

Stormwater runoff treatment

The pollution resulting from rainwater runoff of port areas is an important theme in Venice Area, as demonstrated by the Venice Lagoon safeguarding special legislation that has been developed and that is in place. Indeed, with a Ministerial Decree, the so called “Ronchi-Costa”, since 1999, water discharges in the lagoon have to respect very low emission limits (in some cases lower than the limits adopted for drinkable water).

Taking into proper consideration different aspects (e.g. strict local regulation, environmental protection, correlation with anthropic activity,  water body impacts, and of course cost-benefit analyses) this problem has been studied and solved by means of the adoption of a passive filtration technology, which represents a best available technology (BATs) in this field.
This type of technology allows treating the whole stormwater runoff, with no segregation between first flush and following portion of rain. This means increasing in treatment capacity and relevant reduction of impacts on water bodies.

More into detail, the water treatment plants developed and owned by the VPA make use of filtering cartridges to retain particles and absorb pollutants (including heavy metals, nutrients and hydrocarbons) treating up to 95% of all rainwater.
The filtering process removes oil, grease and surface foam. Once it has been filtered, the water is conveyed into the lagoon.

Treatment effects
Treatment effects
Treatment effects
Treatment effects

Implementation of an environmentally friendly quayside

Another major action to safeguard the lagoon is the erection of embankments, including regenerating existing quaysides and banks to ensure they are watertight to avoid contamination.

Assessment of the wave motion

Over recent years, the Port Authority has performed several studies on the impact of shipping on the wave motion.
The aim is to understand the distribution in time and space of the wake generated by ships up to the embankments, by determining the amplitude of the wave and the direction it propagates.