Adapting to the Pandemic, Veolia North America is Using Remote Augmented Reality Technology to Help Keep Essential Water Treatment Plants Running

Despite Restrictions, VNA's Hubgrade Innovations Made It Possible to Check a California Plant's Equipment Without In-Person Inspections

Over the past year, as Veolia North America (VNA) adjusted to the realities of operating in a world restricted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the company turned to innovative technologies to provide essential water and wastewater treatment services to communities across the U.S. and Canada. 

Nowhere was this commitment to cutting-edge technology more evident than in Hollister, CA, where VNA has operated and maintained the city's wastewater treatment plant for more than a decade. Concerned that pandemic restrictions would keep VNA experts from evaluating the plant’s equipment for proper functioning in person, the company used "augmented reality" digital tools to examine critical components with precision. 

The tools were developed under VNA's industry-leading Hubgrade digital platforms, which are transforming water, waste and energy operations. Spurred on by the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, the Hubgrade team at VNA tested sophisticated digital applications to remotely analyze the plant's equipment. This platform uses ultrasound, vibration and thermal imaging along with inspections to get an accurate remote picture of which plant components were functioning properly, and which required upgrades or repairs. 

"Advances in digitalization are transforming traditional ways to operate and maintain our critical infrastructure," said Veronique Bourgier, who as VNA senior director for strategy and growth oversees the deployment of Hubgrade innovations. "Veolia is leading the way in this effort, particularly in developing solutions to improve and streamline processes at the facilities we operate."

The pilot, which also reduced expenses that would otherwise be incurred by sending experts to inspect the plant in person, has proven to be such a success that VNA plans to conduct remote assessments at many other water and wastewater plants the company operates. Besides equipment assessments, the technology can also evaluate safety conditions, identifying potential hazards. It will also allow the company to connect site staff quickly with VNA in-house technical experts for the water and wastewater treatment plants it operates across the country.

Check out this case study of the Hollister project to learn more about how the project was conceived and implemented.


About Veolia: The Veolia Group's ambition is to be the benchmark company for the ecological transition. With operations on every continent and almost 179,000 employees, the Group designs and distributes useful, concrete solutions for the management of water, waste, and energy, which help bring about radical change. Through its three complementary activities, Veolia is growing access to resources, preserving the resources available, and renewing them. In 2020, the Veolia Group provided 95 million people with drinking water and 62 million with sanitation; it generated almost 43 million megawatt hours and recycled 47 million tons of waste. Veolia Environnement (Paris Euronext: VIE) posted consolidated sales of €26.010 billion in 2020.

About Veolia North America: A subsidiary of Veolia group, Veolia North America (VNA) offers a full spectrum of water, waste and energy management services, including water and wastewater treatment, commercial and hazardous waste collection and disposal, energy consulting and resource recovery. VNA helps commercial, industrial, healthcare, higher education and municipality customers throughout North America. Headquartered in Boston, Mass., Veolia North America has more than 7,000 employees working at more than 250 locations across the continent.


Matt Burgard
(203) 859-4168
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