Wetenschap - 1 september 2011

Technotron taps sewage water

You discharge waste water into the sewage system but the brand-new Technotron building does more than that: it draws fresh sewage water. It has a direct pipeline to the purification plant in Bennekom for research purposes.

It is not really a very impressive pipe at only ten centimetres in diameter. But the 1.2 kilometre long pipeline has been laid specifically to transport fresh sewage water from Bennekom to the Environmental Technology lab in Technotron. 'We are tapping this sewage water for our research', explains researcher Tim Grotenhuis. 'If you transport it in a tank, the composition changes during transportation. Waste water is living material.' Researchers often avoid that problem by using artificial waste water, but that does not have the 'natural variation' of proper, foul-smelling sewage.

Contribution
In other words, there is nothing quite like real sewage water from the point of view of a researcher. Hence the sewage tap. 'So you can tell them at home that every time they go to the toilet, they are making a contribution to science', says Grotenhuis to the reporter from Bennekom. The sewage tap is an example of how far the Environmental Technology researchers are prepared to go. A tour round the new building, which officially opens today, shows the researchers have pretty much everything they could wish for. Incidentally, the building already came into use in April. Technotron has space for around one hundred researchers.

Re:ageer