The Aquatuur project will be officially launched on Monday, Sept. 11, with a conference for a wide audience. The research group Water Technology of the HZ is one of the initiators. Aquatuur aims to increase freshwater availability and create a robust water system.

The partners of the Interreg Flanders-Netherlands project want to achieve this with green-blue solutions. At the same time, these natural solutions must provide the necessary functions and services. The project focuses on water storage, water purification and increasing the repeatability of these solutions. Researchers from HZ's Water Technology research group are focusing particularly on water purification through so-called constructed wetlands (CWs).

Quality requirements

The HZ, UGent, VITO and the Province of Zeeland demonstrate how CWs can purify surface water into an alternative water source for sectors such as agriculture, nature, drinking water production and industry with different quality requirements in the Netherlands and Flanders. The CWs are being built at Evides' Assenede pumping station in East Flanders and use run-off polder water that would otherwise flow into the sea. Previous research shows that the water quality does not meet various quality requirements. In this subproject, the researchers want to study the removal of metals, PAHs, pesticides, microplastics and PFAS by CWs.

There will be a flexible test rig demonstrating which type of CW is most suitable and which design parameters are needed. The setup is about 120 square meters in size and can treat about 20 cubic meters of water per day.

It consists of a settling basin with floating wetlands and five different types of CWs: above/underflow, with/without aeration and biochar, different plant species. Combination with other technologies, such as activated carbon and UV, are being tested in the lab. The researchers are studying hybrid technology, treatment efficiencies and costs.

Three knowledge centers work across borders

The knowledge centers and the province of Zeeland want to increase freshwater availability in the Scheldemond region through this solution. Evides supports the case by making land available. They are looking for alternative water sources and want to reduce the pressure on current drinking water sources. The knowledge institutions are responsible for the preparation, realization and monitoring of the CWs and analyses.

The launch conference will take place in Bruges. There will be a number of national and international speakers. Interested parties are welcome to attend. Registration is possible on this website.

on this website.