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Wastewater management

Water management

Water resource management

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31. August 2020

Unlocking the potential of wastewater

Using wastewater as a resource while protecting people and ecosystems
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Globally, the water sector accounts for approximately 4 % of the world’s total electricity consumption. Wastewater treatment alone accounts for a quarter of this.

In Denmark, 97 % of all wastewater is treated. The reason is Denmark’s lack of major water bodies to discharge pollutants from the cities. This has meant that for a long time great importance has been given to the environment and has led to stringent regulations implemented since the 1980s. Denmark’s standards for discharge were further strengthened during the 1990s.

Strict regulation has been a driver for innovation. Today the Danish waters are clean to swim in and Copenhagen was voted the best city to swim in, even above the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Wastewater as a resource

Considering wastewater as a resource is a relatively new perspective. However, today it is widely recognised that the organic content in the wastewater can be a resource for energy production, and phosphorus can be used for fertiliser production with several advantages compared to the application of sewage sludge on agricultural land.

Most of Denmark’s wastewater treatment plants have invested in different ways to reduce their energy consumption and are increasingly focusing on energy production. As a result, the water sector’s share of the country’s total electricity consumption is 1.9 %.

Key take-aways

  • See lessons learned from different Danish public and private entities within wastewater treatment
  • Learn how to reap the benefits of using wastewater as a resource

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