Joint research project on the reuse of filter backwash water

Zeitgestaffelte Probenahme von Filterspülwasser zur Untersuchung der SchlammeigenschaftenClick to enlarge
Time-series of filter backwash water samples to investigate sludge characteristics
Source: Andrea Steuer

In the research project FITWAS (reuse of filter backwash water from the treatment of groundwater for the protection of the drinking water supply), five partners from the fields of research, water supply and industry join the German Environment Agency to analyse methods for reusing filter backwash water produced during drinking water treatment to conserve drinking water reserves.

In a number of ground water treatment plants in Germany, filter backwash water amounting to between 1 % and 4 % of the obtained groundwater is produced. This often iron and manganese containing backwash water is currently generally disposed of as wastewater and is thereby lost to the drinking water production. In contrast, the drinking water demand is growing, regionally distinctly, and the supply is declining seasonally, as a result of climate, demographic, and structural changes.

The aim of the FITWAS project is, on the one hand, to enhance the availability of drinking water by reusing the filter backwash water produced during groundwater treatment. On the other hand, the reuse potential of the filter sludge is to be utilized.

To develop innovative and viable processes for the usage of filter backwash water as well as filter sludge, membrane processes with different concepts, modules and materials are studied and compared to conventional treatment methods (for example sand filtration), respectively disposal, utilizing laboratory experiments as well as practical tests at four water treatment locations. One innovative approach is a process based on immersed ceramic membranes, which brings benefits towards the energy demand and promises stability during operation.

Funding: Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Project duration:  February 2021 till January 2024


Joint research project on the reuse of filter backwash water - Verbundlogo
Joint research project on the reuse of filter backwash water - Verbundlogo
Source: Umweltbundesamt
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