Waste water: infinite reuse in the future

The oldest sewage treatment plant in Belgium is located on Hazegrasstraat in Knokke-Heist. Commissioned by Compagnie du Zoute, the installation was constructed in 1928 to treat the wastewater from the residential area Het Zoute.

“Since 2004, part of the old installation has been listed as a monument. Together with several external partners, we look into the possibilities of improving the use of the old installation for educational purposes and for nature development around the site,” says Frank Van Ginderachter.

AQUAFIN wastewater treatment plant in Knokke-Heist

A new sewage treatment plant was constructed in 2010. “The process technology has not changed a great deal over the past century.” Yet the new installation can achieve a considerably better and more stable water quality as it is equipped with process meters, controls and monitoring devices. 

The wastewater of about 10,000 local residents is treated here and the clean water is then returned to nature. Another installation pumps the treated effluent back into a canal around the Zwin estuary, to prevent salinisation of the hinterland. 

“Water treatment nowadays involves more than separating polluted and clean water. The challenges presented by climate change, the energy transition and the scarcity of resources are also known to Aquafin. We consider a sewage treatment plant as a source of water, energy and raw materials. In principle, this installation enables us to produce drinking water, which is already taking place on a large scale in the area around Nieuwpoort and De Panne. Circular wastewater is the future. 

Read more about the topics Ecosystem Approach, Renewable Energy and Fresh Water Production, and Ocean Pollution & Waste Solutions.

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