Future perspectives of municipal wastewater treatment in The Netherlands

Roeleveld, P.1 and Uijterlinde, C.2, 1Royal Haskoning, 2STOWA, The Netherlands



In 2008, the Global Water Research Coalition took the initiative to reflect on the future of municipal water management, consisting of collection, transport and treatment, aiming at climate and energy neutrality. Within the context of this global research programme, some countries agreed to focus on the municipal wastewater treatment plant, an important element of municipal wastewater management. The Netherlands are part of that group, lead by the Public Utility Board of Singapore. This paper summarizes the Dutch research contribution.

The main objective of the Dutch research was, to elaborate the outlines of the municipal wastewater treatment plant of 2030. First, from literature current and future developments and trends that might have an impact on wastewater treatment were summarized and analyzed with an expert team. Next, current and potential treatment techniques were summarized. Subsequently, examples of future treatment plants, called the water factory, energy factory and nutrient factory, were designed. Finally, the roadmap leading to an appropriate choice of technology and design was drafted.

Reflecting on the future easily generates panoramas that diverge from a likely reality. On the other hand, creativity should not be limited by unnecessary boundary conditions. A well balanced playing ground was defined by setting a series of general starting-points.

  • Predictable changes of wastewater production and composition are included.
  • The effluent quality that will be produced in 2030 is higher than today.
  • The existence in 2030 of WWTP‘s build before may not be a limiting factor.
  • The WWTP is a centralized facility for integral treatment of wastewater.
  • Wastewater treatment also comprises sludge production and treatment.
  • WWTP‘s may be used for other purposes than protecting aquatic environment.
  • The local situation at a specific treatment location may be utilized for synergy.

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