Full scale demonstration of vacuum collection transport and treatment of black water

Domestic solid waste and wastewater form potential source of nutrients, energy and water. Source separation and decentralized treatment may lead to efficient utilization of valuable components and to at least 25% reduction in drinking water consumption.


In the current centralized approach of collection and treatment usefull components are largely lost. In the considered DeSaR (Decentralised Sanitation and Reuse) concept ‘extremely’ low flush vacuum toilets together with the belonging transport system for black water are used. Thanks to low flush water use (1L per flush), the black water remains strongly concentrated, with a high-energy potential, enabling anaerobic digestion with recovery of biogas.

Technical challenge

In Sneek, a city in the northern part of Holland, a new housing estate of 32 houses is provided with a collection, transport and treatment system for black water. The 32 houses are each equipped with 2 vacuum toilets. A central station, comprising vacuum pump, receiver tank and transfer pump is situated in a cellar outside. From the receiver tank the black water is pumped towards a nearby garage where the treatment system for black water is installed.

The scientific challenge of this research is to test and evaluate the black water treatment system that consists of several treatment technologies that remove/recover organic material, like anaerobic digestion at different temperatures, and nutrients (nitrogen and phosphate), like struvite production and autotrophic ammonia removal.

Name: Ir. Brendo Meulman

Supervisor: Dr. Ir. Grietje Zeeman

Promotors: Prof. Dr. Ir. C.J.N Buisman


Tel: 0031 515 42 86 86

Fax: 0031 515 42 86 85