Since 2001, De Watergroep has been carrying out pilot-based research into an alternative approach to conventional surface water treatment, which consists of flocculation, sedimentation, chlorination, filtration and AC filtration. The objectives are to reduce costs (use of chemicals, production of residual flows) and improve quality, mainly in terms of biostability (an overall decrease in dissolved carbon compounds is said to increase the biostability of drinking water) and disinfection by-products.

As part of this research, a pilot installation was commissioned at de Blankaart water production centre in Diksmuide at the end of 2015. The installation is being used to assess the suitability of ion exchange, coagulation and flotation in the treatment of surface water to drinking water on a scale from 20 to 50 m³/h.

Water Types

surface water
wastewater ion exchange
pretreated surface water (after ion exchange, coagulation/floc removal, rapid sand filtration, GAC filtration)
tap water


ion exchange
IEX wastewater treatment

Analytical equipment

Laboratory for standard water analysis (UV spectrophotometer, pH, oxygen, conductivity, colorimeter, turbidity) 

Technology Readiness Level

Basic principles observed
Technology concept formulated
Experimental proof of concept
Technology validated in lab
Technology validated in relevant environment (industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling technologies)
Technology demonstrated in relevant environment (industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling technologies)
System prototype demonstration in operational environment
System complete and qualified
Actual system proven in operational environment (competitive manufacturing in the case of key enabling technologies; or in space)