Joint press release by the Federal Ministry for Environment and the German Environment Agency

New funding priority: Innovative wastewater engineering

Operators of municipal and industrial wastewater treatment facilities can apply for funding under the Environmental Innovation Programme until 15 April 2019

zwei Faultürme einer Kläranlage spiegeln sich in einem Nachklärbecken.Click to enlarge
Innovative wastewater engineering helps recover recyclable materials such as phosphorus.
Source: Werner /

The Federal Ministry for Environment (BMU) is announcing a new funding priority area: innovative wastewater engineering. Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Environment Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter announced the news today at a conference of the German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste (DWA). The BMU is making a total funding volume of up to 25 million euros available from the Environmental Innovation Programme. The funding will help achieve breakthroughs in technological innovation and to improve the state-of-the-art in wastewater treatment engineering and the recovery of recyclable materials. The German Environment Agency will specialist support for the funding priority.

Ms Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter said: "Our aim is to pave the way to market for new environmentally friendly technologies and processes in waste water treatment. It will ease the strain on the environment and help to modernize operations at treatment facilities. The scope of potential is great – ranging from recovery of recyclables and the reduction of pharmaceutical residues and chemicals in wastewater and sewage sludge, to a reorientation of energy supply. We want to support innovation in all of these areas."

The new funding priority “Innovative Wastewater Engineering” provides funding in three categories. The first is “Materials recovery and supply“, whose objective is to develop engineering processes to recover phosphorus, nitrogen and other reusable materials which now go mostly unused and are disposed with wastewater or sewage sludge, and make them available for reuse in the economic cycle. The techniques can be applied either to wastewater, sewage sludge or to sewage sludge incineration ash. It is particularly important that quality products or basic materials are generated in sufficient quantities for the production of goods. The second category "Extensive wastewater treatment" is about the reduction of trace substances (micropollutants in wastewater) with innovative processes which take the demand for energy and resources into consideration and can eliminate a broad spectrum of pollutants, e.g. pharmaceutical residues and household chemicals. The third category is "Storage, control and networking of energy" which takes a holistic approach to energy and aims to raise efficiency and utilization potential, also at the local supply level.

The new funding priority in the Environmental Innovation Programme targets the operators of municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants of all sizes. Specialist support for the funding line is provided by the German Environment Agency and the KfW Group is responsible for administrative and financial affairs. Applications for grants will be accepted until 15 April 2019. For more information on the application procedure and other formalities go to

Umweltbundesamt Hauptsitz

Wörlitzer Platz 1
06844 Dessau-Roßlau

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