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Flood control works on the Olona river

The project concerns design of lamination and control works of the Olona river which flows through urbanized areas. The project includes design and construction of two separate and artificial flood areas, aimed at allowing the lateral expansion of the river during flooding events, thereby avoiding the risk of flooding.


Location: San Vittore Olona, Italy.


Client: Regional Authority for the Po River (A.I.P.O.).


Cost of total Works: 10,883,200.00 €


Services: Topographic and Geotechnical Surveys and Studies; Concept, Preliminary and Detailed Designs; Environmental Impact Assessment; Landscape Report and Landscape Design; Construction Supervision.


Period: 01/2003 – 03/2011



The approach featuring the project was to maximize the environmental compatibility of the work. The primary objective was:

  • Protection of resident population in case of flooding events;
  • Reduction of the impacts on the landscape and on the natural habitats of the Olona River Park;
  • Integration of the work in the socio-economic context (agricultural use of the land).

The environmental aspects potentially affected by the construction and operation of the infrastructure were identified during the design stage.

The Environmental Impact Assessment includes:

  • Analysis of current conditions - environmental framework
  • Identification of constraints - planning framework
  • Study of the project – design framework

Particular attention has been given to the natural value of the project area that is included in the Olona River Park.
Considering the characteristic of the foreseen works and referring to the EIA national guidelines, the environmental aspects under investigation were: atmosphere (air, climate), water (surface water, groundwater), lithosphere (soil, subsoil, hydrogeology), physical environment (noise, vibrations), biosphere (flora and vegetation, wildlife, ecosystems) and human environment (health and well-being, landscape, cultural heritage, land use planning). Particular attention was paid to vulnerable ecosystem units such as watercourses, groundwater and natural habitats.
The assessment of the current conditions was based on bibliographic data and on the results of the investigations carried out to support the design such as geological and hydrogeological surveys.
Additional data has been collected from local environmental authorities.
Furthermore, the study includes the analysis of the interaction between the works and the requirements of landscaping plans, environmental regulations, territorial and town planning.

The definition of the impacts is one of the most delicate operations of the entire process, and plays a crucial role in the environmental study. An effective checklist of the impacts has been drafted. The analysis identified impacts in the short and long term as well as at various spatial scales.
The socio-economic aspects such as the interaction between the works and the agricultural use of the land were analyzed.
Furthermore, the possible contribution of cumulative and synergistic effects have been considered.
A degree of significance has been associated with each impact.
The effectiveness of the mitigation works has been tested in order to reduce the impact of the work.
During the impact assessment, sustainable reuse of the affected areas has been proposed. The creation of a public green area and the implementation of a bicycle path on the banks of the flooding areas have been designed. The landscape design includes use of native species of local origin and naturalistic engineering works.
The study also includes the management plan of the excavated material.