Aquafin collects wastewater from the Flemish municipalities and treats it before it is returned to nature. As a result, the quality of our watercourses has improved enormously. Our treated water isn't of drinking water quality for humans, but it is just right for fish, birds and amphibians. We also use our knowledge of the water cycle to work towards an environment in harmony with water. This means clean water in city centers, but also a sustainable use of rainwater to prevent increased drying of soils or flooding after heavy rains.
A strong partner for the Flemish Region, the Northern part of Belgium
Aquafin was established by the Flemish Region in 1990, for the purpose of expanding, operating and pre-financing the wastewater treatment infrastructure in Flanders. The Flemish Environmental Holding is the sole shareholder in Aquafin. Aquafin collects household wastewater from the municipal sewers in collector sewers and transports it to wastewater treatment plants, where it is treated in accordance with European and Flemish standards.
Clean water after 25 years of sewage treatment by Aquafin
Over a period of 25 years, the company evolved from a new player in the sector into a many-faceted partner for all the actors involved in the implementation of an integrated water policy in Flanders. Our strength is unmistakably in the combination of vision, expansion and management of the wastewater treatment infrastructure. The feedback between each of the steps makes it possible to have an integrated vision with respect to water treatment. The Flemish Region, the municipalities and the drinking water companies appreciate our technical expertise, our knowledge of the area, and our innovative attitude.
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Streams coming back to life
When Aquafin was established in 1990, just 30% of domestic waste water was treated. The Flemish Region gave Aquafin the task of closing this large gap compared with neighbouring countries rapidly. So far, through Aquafin, Flanders has invested almost 3.7 billion euros in developing and improving the regional waste water treatment infrastructure. As a result, Aquafin currently treats around 83% of domestic waste water before it reaches a stream or river.
Healthy aquatic plants, colourful kingfishers, even an otter here and there and more and more species of fish returning to our streams and rivers. All sorts of measurements and counts prove that in the last few years: our surface water is coming back to life.
For industry and international customers
As a 100% subsidiary of Aquafin, Aquaplus offers the knowledge and expertise of the parent company to Belgian companies with their own water treatment and to authorities outside Flanders.
Within Flanders, Aquaplus can count among its customers several major companies from the food and drink sector, the chemical sector and the pharmaceutical sector. Projects vary and relate to all stages in the water treatment cycle.
In the international market, our subsidiary mainly provides consulting and engineering services.
Support for over 100 Flemish cities and municipalities
Flemish towns, cities and municipalities are responsible for collecting and removing domestic waste water from households in municipal sewers, where Aquafin’s collector sewers take over. Thanks to its knowhow and experience in this area, Aquafin is perfectly placed to support the local authorities.
Following a call for tenders, they can appoint the company to manage their sewer system in the form of a concession or via a joint venture between Aquafin and the water companies water-link or De Watergroep (riopact). Over 100 municipalities are customers of Aquafin.
Although the regional treatment infrastructure is almost fully developed, many missing links still need to be put in place at local level to improve water quality further. The income from the municipal environmental levies should also be used to maintain the infrastructure. With an asset management plan from Aquafin, municipalities can keep the greatest risks under control, even with a limited annual budget.
For municipalities which already have to contend with flooding on a regular basis or want to prepare for heavier downpours in future, we draw up a stormwater plan. This is always geared to the specific requirements and situation of the municipality, without shifting the problem to a neighbouring municipality.
An outward-looking approach
Although Aquafin mainly operates in Flanders, we also want to put our vision into practice outside this region. Firstly via Aquaplus, which offers tailor-made solutions for the whole water cycle to Flemish industry and foreign authorities. Secondly, Aquafin supports projects in developing countries that promote access to drinking water and hygienic sanitation. Besides a financial contribution, Aquafin also supplies knowledge and expertise for these projects. In this way, employees are given the opportunity to combine their concern for the environment with their social engagement.
Looking out for the neighbourhood
Sewage works tend to be disruptive, especially if they are carried out in the centre of a village or on a busy road. As the main contractor, Aquafin aims to keep the disruption for the surrounding area to a minimum. Therefore, from the design phase of a project onwards, we take into account the local situation. The contractors who carry out the work for us have to apply Less Disruption measures from our specifications on site. We also pay a great deal of attention to accurate and timely communication about the works to local residents and business owners.
Quality is a must
To ensure that our technical partners on site meet Aquafin’s standards regarding quality, safety and limiting disruption, as of this year, these factors play an important part in the allocation of new projects. A contractor’s quality score is based on multiple evaluations by various parties in a project.