REGAIN partners with NX Filtration to demonstrate municipal wastewater reuse in the Netherlands

The REGAIN research project — a Dutch consortium of a water board, an industrial water company and two research institutes — have selected NX Filtration hollow fibre nanofiltration (NF) membrane to be one of the three technologies to be tested on its effectiveness in removing pharmaceutical residues from wastewater.

REGAIN is a joint project of Dutch Water Board, water technology company WLN, knowledge institute Centre of Expertise Water technology (CEW), and North Water, an industrial water subsidiary of Dutch drinking water utilities

The objective of this test is to avoid the discharge of such residues into the UNESCO nature reserve the Wadden sea and to enable the production of industrial grade water by reusing treated wastewater. REGAIN will test three different treatment technologies throughout an 18-month research project at Noorderzijlvest’s Garmerwolde municipal wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in Groningen, the Netherlands.

The goal is to achieve a sustainable freshwater system by working in a circular win-win manner. Using the treated wastewater effluent as a source for industrial water in the region, it caters to the expanding industries in Eemshaven and Delfzijl, contributing to fresh water quantity.

Due to limited drinking water availability and increasing demand for fresh water, alternative water sources are much needed. By striving to ensure that no pharmaceutical residues in the wastewater stream enter the UNESCO nature reserve Waddenzee, water quality can be improved. By 2025, the REGAIN research project should serve as the basis of a system with an expected capacity of 10 million m3/year.

Mark Schaap, technology manager at North Water, said, “The demand for industrial water in our region is growing, and we aim to use treated wastewater as a sustainable alternative next to using Eemskanaal surface water.

“The technology from NX Filtration is a crucial component of this project at a larger scale. This filtration technology — previously tested at the WWTPs in Wilp and Asten — blocks micropollutants such as pharmaceutical residues with minimal use of chemicals and energy. Hollow fibre NF membranes are less prone to particle contamination and are easier to clean compared to traditional spiral-wound nanofiltration membranes.”