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Waste water collection and treatment

We are developing novel waste water treatment and processing options to optimise the use of waste water as a resource and improve urban drainage. Our research includes:

  • rethinking sewer systems as components of waste water treatment systems
  • developing new treatment technologies for added value recovery
  • developing flexible and modular treatment systems
  • developing new treatment technologies to remove pharmaceuticals, personal care products and other micro pollutants

Used water is discharged and brought back into the environment. During its use, water takes up faecal wastes and other contaminations. Until the 1960s, this water was drained from urban areas directly into surface waters. However, due to surface water deterioration, waste water treatment systems had to be installed to protect surface waters from being polluted.

Waste water is now recognised as a resource for many valuable materials such as water itself, nutrients, feedstocks for bioplastics, and chemical energy and heat. More and more utilities are seeking efficient and effective ways to recover these materials, leading to an important role in the circular economy.

An important international development is the multiple use of water for multiple purposes. This means that water will cascade through several applications, each time degrading its water quality until it reaches a quality which makes it unusable and requires treatment.

A second aspect of waste water collection is urban drainage. This is important to keep 'dry feet', reduce nuisance and damage by extreme precipitation events. When rainwater is collected in a controlled way, nuisance and damage can be reduced and the  water can be used as an alternative water source.

Our research proactively seeks out ways to improve the systems and processes we use to collect and treat waste water.

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