FlexTreat - Flexible and reliable concepts for sustainable water reuse in agriculture

  Photo of virtual kick-off meeting Copyright: © ISA

The goal of the FlexTreat project is to promote safe water reuse in agriculture by developing and demonstrating flexible technical and nature-based treatment systems adapted to agricultural needs.



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The current droughts in various regions of Germany highlight the need to rethink current water management approaches. Further impacts on agriculture are to be expected in view of the predicted climate change, so that the topic of "wastewater reuse" is gaining in importance in Germany. At the European level, new European legislation establishing uniform minimum quality criteria for agricultural reuse is due for implementation.

Innovative process combinations are being tested and further developed at four sites on a pilot or large scale with respect to a wide range of physical, chemical and microbiological water quality parameters. The processes under investigation include ozonation, rapid filtration, UV disinfection, modified retention soil filters, activated carbon adsorption, ultrafiltration, nature-based treatment using constructed wetlands, and electrochlorination. Particular focus will be placed on potential synergies with trace substance removal, as well as innovations in process monitoring through the use of digital applications, ensuring demanding quality targets such as unrestricted irrigation can be met at all times.

An integrated assessment approach that combines water quality, health risks, system resilience, and economic and environmental dimensions is also being developed and tested. To promote the potential for reuse, issues of water reuse acceptability and transferability of FlexTreat solutions will be addressed with the involvement of potential users. In addition, inputs for implementation guidelines will be developed.

The project has a duration of 3 years and is funded by the BMBF within the topic "Water Technologies: Reuse" under the framework program "Research for Sustainable Development" (FONA).

The following research institutions, large companies, small and medium-sized enterprises and water associations are involved as partners:

Bundesanstalt für Gewässerkunde, Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin, Institut für Hygiene und Öffentliche Gesundheit/Universitätsklinikum Bonn, Analytik Jena AG, inge GmbH, Xylem Services GmbH, Autarcon GmbH, PEGASYS Gesellschaft für Automation und Datensysteme mbH, p2mberlin GmbH, Erftverband, Abwasserverband Braunschweig,, as well as ISA at RWTH Aachen University as project coordinator.


Information about Research Project FlexTreat

Funding Agency

Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)


February 2021 to January 2024

Project Manager

Max Zimmermann, M.Sc.

Project Partner

Institut für Siedlungswasserwirtschaft der RWTH Aachen
KWB Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin gGmbH, Berlin
Bundesanstalt für Gewässerkunde (BfG), Koblenz
Universitätsklinikum Bonn, Bonn
Erftverband, Bergheim
Abwasserverband Braunschweig, Wendeburg
Analytik Jena AG, Jena
inge GmbH, Greifenberg
PEGASYS Gesellschaft für Automation und Datensysteme mbH, Meschede
Xylem Services GmbH, Herford
p2m berlin GmbH, Berlin