Ultra pure water plant

Upgrades treated sewage to ultrapure water

Posted on 1 July 2010

Ultra pure water plant

NieuWater, a joint venture of the Water Supply Company Drenthe (WMD) and Velt and Vecht water board, has designed, engineered, constructed and now operates a new effluent re-use plant in Emmen. Here, effluent from the municipal wastewater treatment plant is purified so intensely that it results in ultrapure water (3 million m³ per year). The plant has been designed in cooperation with leading Dutch technologists and incorporates the most advanced water purification technologies.


The resulting ultrapure water will be supplied to the nearby Netherlands Mineral Oil Company (NAM). There it will be converted into steam that will be injected into the underground reservoir to reduce the viscosity of oil in the Schoonebeek Field. It will then be possible to pump oil to the surface again for the first time since 1996.


  • Sewage water is purified to produce ultrapure water
  • The scale of production: up to 10,000 m³
  • combination of innovative purification technologies
  • Hardly any chemicals are used during the process


In line with the national anti-dehydration policy, the province of Drenthe does not use groundwater for industrial purposes. The use of surface water as source for the production of ultrapure water is also not an ideal option. During dry periods it is necessary to let in water from the river IJssel and the IJsselmeer lake in order to keep the water level constant. Given all of these factors it was decided that the treated effluent from the sewage treatment plant should be used as the source.

Technologies used

An advanced treatment train removes all suspended particles, nutrients and salts from the effluent through ultrafiltration, double biological activated carbon filtration, double reverse osmosis and finally electrodeionisation. The resulting product, practically 100% pure H2O, is pumped via two pipes to the NAM total energy plant in Schoonebeek.

Project location

Project partners

  • Dutch Water Authorities | Unie van Waterschappen
  • N.V. Waterleidingmaatschappij Drenthe
  • NieuWater B.V.