Republic of Montenegro, in accordance with Article 40 of the Law on waters (Official Gazette of the Republic of Montenegro No. 16/95), has signed the contract on May 8th 2002 with Fin Invest doo on transferring the rights of use of water resources of the Ropušica spring, on the top Lipov in Kolašin. By this agreement Fin Invest doo has acquired the right to build a plant for the exploitation and use of water resources of the Ropušica spring in accordance with the technical documentation provided for approval to the Water Management public utility company, and has the obligation to resolve all property obligations provided for by law and to fulfill other conditions in accordance with the regulations.
Next to primary contract, interested parties have signed on December 11th 2002 an additional contract entered into Annex I to the basic contract. According to Annex I of the basic contract, Fin Invest doo has the right to use and exploit water resources of Ropušica within the period of 10 plus 10 (twenty) years, starting from the date of issuance of Water Management permit to use water resources. Contracting parties agree that Fin Invest doo has to pay on behalf of the Budget of the Republic of Montenegro the total fee for the use of water in the amount of 6% of the selling price of water.
Fin Invest doo also had an obligation to obtain the approval of the Water Management public utility company within the period of one year from the date of the conclusion of the contract and to obtain a water management license within the period of one year from the date of the issuance of the water management approval. If Fin Invest doo would not done so, then this agreement between the Government of the Republic of Montenegro and Fin Invest doo could have been cease to apply .
According to the analysis done so far, water from this source could be used for drinking without any intervention from the purification of water.
For fitting in European standards and directives, the pre-treatment of Ropušica water sources, has to be done just before filling the bottles. This treatment consists of a single row of mechanical filters that would serve as prevention in case of occurrence of particles in the water prepared for bottling.
Image 1. Ropušica spring water flow
System for water bottling from spring Ropušica consists of the following facilities:
- Collection of water in vaults on the Plašnica,
- Pipeline to bring water from it to the water bottling factory,
- Water bottling factory is in the village of Plan.
The source of Aqua Monta spring water is a natural spring, which comes from aquifer. Spring water selection was made on the basis of natural composition and freedom from contamination, availability, and taste. In house and trained geologists and hydro geologists monitor the spring regularly at the source. Only a sustainable source which meets stringent requirements for quality and environmental harmony can be utilized. Spring water collection is made using state-of-the-art equipment – vaults, to prevent chances of contamination and safeguard the natural characteristics of the water.
Spring water will be transported from the natural spring by food-grade pipelines. Trained quality assurance personnel will daily take samples of incoming spring water and test for signs of contamination. Monitoring of the spring water collection and receiving process will be performed regularly. One-micron-sized filters will remove sand or other particles from the water.
Spring water will temporarily be held in food grade storage tanks upon initial receipt at the plant. Here, the spring water is further tested for conformance to specifications.
Specialized two stage advanced micro filters, designed specifically for this process, filter the raw spring water. These filters are pharmaceutical grade, and are designed to remove particles as small as 0.2 micron in diameter. This prevents the passage of unwanted bacteria.
The process of ultra-violet light and ozone disinfection follows micro-filtration and is designed to destroy harmful bacteria. The combined effects of micro-filtration and ultra-violet light/ozone disinfection provide ultimate assurance of product safety.
Bottling will be carried out under very controlled conditions using state-of-the-art equipment. The spring water will be monitored during the filling and capping process to prevent contamination from the environment. Each bottle is given a specific code that establishes the plant location, bottling line, and time produced. Each plant maintains water bottling specifications and control.
Packaging will be carried out using the latest in modern equipment. Bottles, caps and labels have to be carefully controlled and monitored by lot. Water bottles will be ordered and produced by selected long-term suppliers and will undergo rigid quality control. Package materials not meeting the high internal standards will be rejected.
Line sanitation practices include advanced internal pipe and equipment cleaning methods called. The automated process cleaning method will re-circulate detergent and sanitizing solutions at the precise temperatures and time to affect total control and maximum effectiveness of the line sanitation process.
For the waste water treatment the plant has come up with special gravitational sanitation and waste water technology.
Facility consists of a single line, of maximum capacity of 60 m3/day. Given the required level of waste water plant, the process of purification consists of the following phases:
- Mechanical purification:
- Removal of major and inert materials with the help of automatic grid,
- Removal of grain formed materials (sand-catcher) and oil and grease (oil and grease catcher).
- Secondary refining:
- Secondary settling with sludge recirculation.
- Tertiary purification:
- Filtration in the filters under pressure,
After treatment, the purified waste water is interflowed into the river Plašnica, which represents the first category recipient.
MACHINERY AND EQUIPMENT
In order to get filled into bottles, the spring water undergoes the spring water production and bottling system that involves four steps:
- Spring water collection,
- Transport through pipelines to the tanks,
- Purification and stock of purified water,
- Bottle filling.
The spring flow is collected using a water collection system that includes a concrete pump vault. Pump vault construction consists of pouring concrete inside plywood forms to construct the sides of the pump vault. The spring flow collection system is designed to collect spring flow from Ropušica or eventually a network of new springs that could appear. Water collected by the system will be pumped to the inlet clarifier basin of the spring treatment facility already constructed by Fin Invest doo to capture site groundwater emerging from the spring.
 The equipment described in this chapter is the subject of the fund raising aim of this business plan.
Ropušica water is collected, filtered and bottled through the utilization of industry-leading equipment and the highest standards of production. The spring flows into a concrete vault where water is collected and protected in a stainless steel-lined vault. It runs through to tanks where filters remove all sediment. The water is sterilized using ultra-violet lights and then undergoes ionization – another step to ensure safety and quality.
Bottling equipment is kept in a separate clean room free of contaminates. The bottle washer and filler machine is made from food-grade stainless steel. Glass bottles are washed (at a minimum of 180 degrees), drained, rinsed and sterilized prior to use. They then proceed to the filler. The process is totally mechanical to prevent human contact.
After being capped, bottles are sealed, date coded for freshness and placed in steel/PE racks or pallets—ready for pick up or delivery.
Equipment suppliers will be identified following the bidding process that will take place when the construction works are near the finalization. The bidding process will be open to both foreign and domestic suppliers of spring water collection and bottling systems.
ENVIRONMENTAL AND SAFETY ASPECTS
Analysis of the impact on the environment during construction and operation of facilities previously mentioned can be concluded in the following:
- According to their lasting, the impact can be: temporary (in the construction of the system), fixed (during the exploitation of the system) and occasional (in accidents). Effects that can be expected during the construction of the system are a consequence of the implementation of civil works and construction machines.
- Negative impacts such as increase in noise, air pollution, capture of space by temporary storage facilities and the like, can mitigate the appropriate organization of construction sites and their effects disappear after the completion of works.
- During the exploitation of the expected appearance of long-term impact such as the capture of space by objects, changing the water regime of the river downstream the collection point on Plašnica, limited use of land in the zones of sanitary protection, visual-aesthetic landscape changes due to construction of facilities and the like.
- Applying the prescribed protection measures, negative impact may lessen or eliminated.
- Influences in the accidents and the occasional appearance are of a small probability. They are a consequence of the average system objects. By proper maintenance and equipment handling, the appearance of influences can be reduced to a minimum.
Condition for successful functioning of the system and the minimization of negative impacts on the environment is a consistent implementation of measures of environmental protection and monitoring of its quality.
In addition to positive economic effect, which is reflected in the bottling and placing on the market fresh, natural, and clean spring drinking water, implementation of exercise and positive effects on the environment such as: improving the hygienic situation in the zones of sanitary protection, arrangement of space around the factory, ecologically guaranteed flow downstream of water collection site etc.
The anti-bottled water arguments made are that, unlike tap water, bottled water uses up oil and other fossil fuels to be produced and shipped, fills up landfills, represents wasted money, and does not go through nearly as rigorous filtering and cleansing processes. However, supporters of bottled water are quick to counter that bottled water is not simply tap water in a bottle and the oil used is minimal in comparison to that of general transportation or other packaged foods and beverages.
PRODUCTION REGULATION AND STANDARDS
European Directive 80/777/EEC modified by Directive 96/70/EC deals with the marketing and exploitation of natural mineral waters in the European Union. Although Montenegro is still not an EU member, the process of harmonization of the regulation of water production process is under way, so these EU standards apply or will soon apply to the production of bottled water in Montenegro.
Under EU regulation, two main types of bottled water are recognized:
- Mineral water
- Spring water
Broadly speaking, mineral water is groundwater that has emerged from the ground and flowed over rock. Treatment of mineral water is restricted to removal of unstable elements such as iron and sulfur compounds. Treatment for such minerals can only extend to filtration or decanting with oxygenation. Free carbon dioxide may be removed only by physical methods, and the regulations for introduction (or reintroduction) of CO2 are strictly defined. Disinfection of natural mineral water is completely prohibited, including the addition of any element that is likely to change bacterial colony counts. If natural mineral is effervescent, it must be labeled accordingly, depending on the origin of the carbon dioxide:
- Naturally carbonated natural mineral water (no introduction of CO2),
- Natural mineral water fortified with gas from the spring (reintroduction of CO2),
- Carbonated natural mineral water (CO2 added following strict guidelines).
Spring water is also derived from groundwater sources, but is collected by means of a well in practice, often a borehole. Spring water may be subject to various kinds of treatment prior to bottling. The same chemical and microbiological parametric quality regimes apply to both types of waters.