Concepts of Waste Management

Ecological benefits of alternative water infrastructure concept

The "DEUS-21" water infrastructure concept has significant potential for reducing the environmental pollution caused by the water supply and waste water disposal process. Therefore, the project partners are analysing the ecological effects and socio-economic issues of the innovative demonstration project, in order to come up with conclusions about the benefits and obstacles involved in establishing further infrastructure measures based on the same model.



As part of the "DEUS-21" research and demonstration project, an innovative water infrastructure (WI) concept was implemented in a development area. Appropriate measures (nutrient recovery from waste water and organic waste, extraction of biogas, treatment of rain and waste water) were put in place to improve resource efficiency and increase flexibility compared to conventional water borne sewage systems.

This research project was based on a comparative analysis and assessment of the systems in terms of their ecological and economic effects. In addition, the project partners looked at acceptance studies and importance of communication measures, along with the legal framework.


  • Legal implementation of the concept does not require major adaptations, provided it is viewed as part of the public water supply and waste water disposal system.
  • For the ecological assessment, the "SurWis" model (material flow in urban WI system) was developed.
  • The ecological relevance of urban WI systems in Germany was studied. The results show that they are responsible for 35% of watercourse pollution, carry 53% of the phosphorous released with mineral fertilisers and require around 75 kWh/(inhabitant pa) of power.
  • The comparative ecological assessment rates the concept in different impact categories to conventional systems. It has disadvantages in terms of the cumulative energy requirement, CO2 emissions and potential acidification. These are set against advantages such as significantly better use of phosphorous and water resources, lower heavy metal emissions, around 20% lower nitrous oxide and methane emissions and reduced aquatic eutrophication potential.

More Project Informations

Project title:  DEzentrales Urbanes InfrastrukturSystem DEUS 21Ökologischer Nutzen alternativer Wasserinfrastrukturkonzepte

Project number:  02WD0850

Project period:  2007 - 2010

Project region:  Germany (Baden-Württemberg)

Project contact:


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Source: German National Library of Science and Technology Hannover (TIB)