The Waterworks of the Future

State of Green
By Dan Howis Lauritsen / +45 2249 6510, August 21, 2014

The future of clean drinking water is located on a hill just north of Aarhus, Denmark. The building is CO2-neutral and sets new standards for drinking water safety and security of supply.


‘Build a waterworks plant that guarantees a safe supply of drinking water, yet is CO2-neutral and compatible with future technologies.’

That was the challenge given by Aarhus Water to a consortium of six water specialist companies (Hoffmann, Silhorko-Eurowater, Xergi, Cubo, Moe and Niras), who in turn proposed a project which has been inaugurated by the Danish Minister of the Environment Kirsten Brosbøl.

Located on a hill top just north of Aarhus, Denmark, the Truelsbjerg waterworks plant represents the future of waterworks, both inside and out. The plant is strikingly unusual in that all its pipes are visible and that water is filtered and stored in tanks built above ground. The building itself is an empty shell.

It may sound strange, but the new building breaks with a long tradition within waterworks construction, where pipes and tanks for filtering water are built into the structure or buried below the ground surface making them hard to service, renovate and work with the water they handled:

“The Truelsbjerg plant represents the waterworks of the future. It not only ensures fresh and clean drinking water for the citizens in Aarhus, it is also an international display window that demonstrates Danish ambitions and competences within water, as well as which solutions we can export. I am focused on continuously pushing the limits of efficiency in the water sector. This plant will develop solutions to the technical challenges related to drinking water,” said the minister.

Flexibility and photovoltaics
With all its workings visible and easily accessible, the plant achieves two major advantages: Minimising the risk of pollution, and easier identification of any problems. Furthermore, it is also easy to replace components and pipes.

New test components can be installed without disrupting production, and there are drain cocks on the water filters for taking samples at various phases of the purification process. Space has also been allocated to a laboratory where scientists can set up equipment to analyse water samples.

What also sets this plant apart from traditional waterworks is the construction of 300 m2 of photovoltaic panels. Apart from the pumps, the new building will be CO2-neutral.

Truelsbjerg Waterworks is part of the Danish lighthouse project ‘FutureWater’. This major Danish umbrella project focuses on the future challenges facing drinking water utilities. The R&D project is the most comprehensive of its kind in Denmark. One of the important issues in the project is to pave the way for Danish export of both know-how and products related to water technology. 

Source: Aarhus Water / FutureWater

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