Società Metropolitana Acque Torino S.p.A.

Integrated Water Services

SMAT Research Center

Centro Ricerche SMAT


Water has been identified as the mainr environmental issue of the 21st century.

The experience that SMAT developed in the management of water resources, from the catchment from the environment to the return after use, supports us in the research of the best tools and technologies to promote health and environment protection.

It increases the efficiency and the efficacy of the drinking and waste water treatments by means of updated and environmentally friendly systems, it improves the quality of drinking water we produce, it guarantees people awareness on wise use of water resources.

Our mission consists in transferring the knowledges we acquired through studies and experimentations to production units, contributing to the technological innovation and the industrial development in the water sector.


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The new SMAT Research Centre is one of the main Italian references in the field of applied research and control of drinking and waste water.
Applied research activity is mainly dedicated to projects on the following topics:

  • conventional and innovative drinking and waste water treatments
  • chemical, microbiological and organoleptic quality of drinking water
  • monitoring of water resources qualità
  • innovative devices and materials

which are often studied jointly with universities, main organizations and large companies.
The quality control activity on drinking and waste water consists of about 42,000 samples analysed yearly, and more than 600,000 parameters determined.


SMAT has developed a dense network of contacts with major scientific institutes both on a national and international basis.

The main organizations with which the Research Centre is in contact are:

Turin Polytechnic
Turin Unversity
Milan Polytechnic
Genoa University
Brescia University
Rome University
National Institute of Health
Association of Italian Energy and Water Companies Federutility
AMGA Research Foundation
European Association of Water Services EUREAU
International School of Water for the Development Hydroaid
Turin HYDRODATA Applied Research Dept.
Veolia Environment
American Water Works Association Research Foundation
Israel National Center for Avanced Water Technologies
Chinese universities of Wuhan, Luoyang and Shenzhen


The Research Centre is built on more than 2,200 square meters located inside the area of the SMAT large Po river treatment plants.

It is on the boundary with the International Labour Organization (ILO) campus, where the courses of Hydroaid International School are carried out, thus representing a really important pole of training and scientific development of great relevance at international level in the field of water.

Inside the SMAT area there is also a guest house which can host students and researchers.


Behind technological innovation and industrial development there is always an intense study activity. SMAT Research Center has deepened the knowledge and the monitoring activity on the following topics:

Disinfection by-products formation in surface treated waters, especially of chlorite and chlorate ions Traditional and innovative arsenic removal treatments from groundwater Surface water treatment by means of submerged hollow fiber membranes Analysis of new pathogens and real time indicators of bacterial contamination Presence of cyanobacteria in reservoir waters Risk assessment for pesticides in drinking water sources Development of rapid analytical protocols for drinking water quality emergency management Automation of analytical techniques for the determination of environmental relevant trace molecules Presence of endocrine disruptors and pharmaceutical and drugs residuals in waste waters Reuse of waste water for special application (potable water for the Internationa Space Station) Effect of hypochlorite disinfection on toxicity at the discharge of urban waste water Ozonation in waste water treatment plants to reduce sludge volumes Anaerobic digestion of the organic fraction in urban solid wastes Evaluation of the compatibility of dissipators for organic wastes

For the study activity the Research Centre makes use of its own laboratories:

  • Biological Laboratory for drinking water
  • Chemical Laboratory for drinking water
  • Chemical-Biological Laboratory for waste water.


For over 50 years SMAT has been a leader in the field of water treatments.
We have been spending great resources experimenting the most advanced processes for drinking water and waste water purification, in order to transfer the results obtained in our plants.

Running many pilot plants, the Research Centre has tested advanced oxidation and disinfection processes in surface water plants, membrane treatments of micro and ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis to remove pollutants, innovative depuration processes in the largest Italian urban waste water treatment plant.

Since more than 20 years we have led the experimentation of new control technologies, especially concerning automatic devices for on line monitoring of water quality, which guarantees continuity of control and timely intervention.

In the last years, according with the awareness that ‘tap water can’t be only safe, it must be also palatable’ (Bonn Charter, 2004), the Research Centre has formed a team of patented tasters. Testing the organoleptic characteristics of the drinking waters we produce, they provide suggestions to improve drinking water taste.


After the steps of studying and testing, the researchers have to transfer the results to the industrial sector. Among our goals we can mention:

  • implementation of biotechnological treatments for inorganic pollutants
  • recovery of an artificial basin to be used as a natural lagoon for river water
  • use of more efficient disinfectant agents and environmentally frienfly technologies (such as membrane processes)
  • development of new technologies to make possible the reuse of the treatment sludges
  • realization of an innovative treatment to recover sands in the waste water treatment plants.

But the results of research and innovation activities performed by the Research Center find application even at international level on water for human spaceflight. On March 9th 2008 a special type of water produced by SMAT was launched with the ATV module Jules Verne to the International Space Station.

The supply of the first Italian water drunk in the space required the setting up of a complex production process that was entirely studied, checked and realized by the Research Centre in cooperation with Thales Alenia Space-Italia.

Moreover, the Research Centre cooperated with SERMIG no profit association to realize a a new device which can be applied to any bicycle, transforming the energy produced by cycling to obtain drinking water without any trace left of arsenic or other contaminants.