In the coastal regions along the Southern North Sea and the Channel area traditional water resources are under pressure, due to extreme drought in recent years and the salination of surface waters. The Belgium province Flanders has limited freshwater, because there are no supplies from rivers coming in. So brackish water and seawater have gained more and more interest as freshwater resources. Already in 2010, drinking water company Evides started a pilot plant to produce 75,000 m3/a drinking water by reverse osmosis of seawater in Zeeland.
Desalination projects in Zeeland and Flanders
According to Water News Europe, Dutch Water Board Scheldestromen, Chemical Company Dow and Evides are working on a pilot study in the province of Zeeland. In this study wetlands are used for mild desalination of brackish wastewater streams. The idea is to use artificial reed beds to pre-treat the water before it goes to a desalination plant like an ion exchange system, a nanofiltration, reverse osmosis or electrodialysis plant.
In a project carried out by Dow Benelux and Evides, with scientific support by HZ University of Applied Sciences in Middelburg (NL), desalination technology is implemented to produce high-quality process water from brackish effluent from municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants.
This spring Belgium water company FARYS started a plant producing drinking water in Ostend at the Belgian coast. Every day up to 12 million liters (12,000 m³) of drinking water is made from brackish water from the Ostend-Bruges canal. The raw water is treated by mechanical sieving, membrane filtration, reverse osmosis and active carbon adsorption.
In Zeeland, Dutch companies REDstack and Pure Water Group started testing an installation for desalinating water based on Electrodialysis Reversal (EDR) on the Afsluitdijk (the dike that divides the Dutch provinces Zeeland and North Holland). With EDR technology it is possible to separate salt water into fresh water and brine. The installation shall produce about 25 m3/d freshwater.