1. MBR technology - Challenges and opportunities for WWTPs
During nine years (2013-2022), the membrane bioreactor (MBR) technology has been evaluated through pilot tests at the R&D-facility Hammarby Sjöstadsverk prior to full-scale implementation at Henriksdal WWTP in Stockholm starting in 2021. The purpose of the workshop is to summarize specific experiences, challenges and opportunities that IVL Swedish Environmental Research institute and Stockholm Vatten och Avfall (SVOA) have identified during these years. Further, the role of the MBR-technology for Stockholm’s future sewage treatment and experiences from the first year of full-scale operation will be presented at the workshop.
Representants from different organisations that have decided to implement the process will discuss their reasoning behind choosing the MBR-technology. The role of MBR-technology in the light of the current geopolitical situation, upcoming legislation requirements, and general striving for a sustainable development of society will be elaborated using presentations and panel discussions. The targeted audience of the workshop includes decisions makers at municipal level, professionals in wastewater treatment and operation utility professionals.
2. Climate adaptation for the water sector, different prerequisites for financing
There are many challenges and obstacles to achieving a climate-secure society. The measures required are often very costly and need to be prioritized and considered holistically at the societal level. The value of selecting measures should be evaluated alongside other alternatives. The financial system's administration and legislation vary within Nordic countries, which affects how it operates. One possible solution is whether a broader tax for various measures is possible, or if it’s better to value each measure individually and divide the cost. This can impact the cost-effectiveness and speed of implementation. The cost can be divided among different actors, including private landowners and the state. It is necessary to determine the level to be covered by the water sector and if it's the same in all Nordic countries. The benefits and costs may not always occur in the same place. It's essential to evaluate what is worth protecting and set limits accordingly. In some situations, we may need to say no and not protect everything.
The aim of this workshop is to create a map of similarities and differences in the implementation of climate change measures for the water sector across Nordic countries. By exchanging valuable insights, we hope to increase mutual knowledge and better understand the role of the water sector in society. Initial presentation will be held by representatives from the water and wastewater associations in Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden plus examples from municipalities.
3. Data and reporting towards climate and energy neutrality
In the Nordic water sector, we have spent many resources on developing calculation methods in the water sector and collecting and reporting data. With this workshop we aim for a discussion about how to use data to improve our activities and implement measures towards climate and energy neutrality. We wish to link this discussion to development of strategies for climate and energy neutrality, and how we can link data, strategy, and measures to make sure we actually move towards climate and energy neutrality in practice.
“EU Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive - Expected energy demands and consequences for a climate and energy neutral water sector" Anders Finnson, Svenskt Vatten
“The Nordic model and cooperation on climate and energy neutrality” Thomas Sørensen, DANVA
Nordic cases on difference topics related to climate neutrality:
4. Addressing water industry challenges in light of global mega trends
Several large global trends are and will be affecting the water industry in the coming years. Some of these trends will affect the way we work, meaning that new skills and ways of solving problems will be required. This workshop will focus on five global mega trends, with the goals of defining how these will affect our work and lives, what opportunities and challenges there are, and what skills and changes are required to face them. The expected outcome from the workshop is a broadened awareness among water professionals and companies how the mega trends will affect them and what will be required of them in terms of new skills. The workshop will also be used to deepen the dialogue with companies, utilities and other organizations about the challenges and required changes. Five megatrends will be discussed: Shifts in economic power, Demographic shift, Accelerating urbanization, Rise in technology and Climate change.
The workshop will consist of an introduction to the workshop and the five global megatrends, followed by group discussions with the participants. The results from the workshop will be summarized in the end and disseminated to after the conference. The workshop is organized as a joint collaboration between YWP Sweden, YWP Denmark, YWP Finland and VA Yngre Norway, and is based on the workshop with the same topic that was organized by YWP Denmark and YWP South Africa during the 2022 IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition in Copenhagen.
5. How are utilities taking action towards the Sustainable Development Goals?
Utilities are increasingly translating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to action in their everyday work. The SDGs are a powerful framework for steering in the right direction, while balancing social, economic and environmental needs. In collaboration with private actors and national water associations, utilities are operationalising the SDGs with new tools, approaches and other initiatives. As this work is happening fast, and mainly in parallel in the Nordic countries, there is much to learn from each other and initiatives to link. The overall goal of this workshop is to bring people together to accelerate our work as a Nordic water sector towards the SDGs. Anyone working at or with utilities, or anyone who wants to learn or discuss more about the SDGs, are welcome to join this interactive workshop.
At the IWA World Water Congress in 2022, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway started together a network for sharing experiences on how the SDGs are operationalised at utility level. The network focuses on national goals and strategies, tools, approaches and linkages to existing initiatives (for example national benchmarking).
6. Capacity for asset management of municipal infrastructure
The need for reinforcements within infrastructure maintenance is huge and growing, as the infrastructure ages. The Mistra InfraMaint programme addresses the urgent need to turn attention towards the importance of infrastructure asset management and maintenance. In the Swedish Sustainability index, the parameter “Status of water and wastewater fixed facilities” is furthest from sustainability. This workshop focuses on capacity for asset management at water utilities. Key research outcomes from the research programme Mistra InfraMaint will be presented under three themes: i) decision support; ii) business models and organization; and iii) competence building; followed by interactive discussions.
A key finding from the research is that it is critical for municipal organisations to have not only technical solutions and a sufficient budget, but also additional capacities are required to manage their assets wisely. A broad range of organisational capacities needs to be in place to ensure successful maintenance implementation: financial (budget), technical (including competence), institutional (e.g. methods for management and reporting), societal (acceptance of priorities) and political (priority and decision making). Good examples show successful strategies for improved asset management. The research in Mistra InfraMaint shows that the organisational challenges are larger than the technical also for implementation of novel digital applications and decision support tools.
Workskop part 1: Research pitch presentations – Highlights and key results from phase 1 of Mistra InfraMaint
Workshop part 2: “Walk & talk” – discussions around posters with key aspects of asset management and its application lead by programme researchers.
In the workshop we wish to include utility and industry participants to discuss topics such as: political priority and decisions for good financial management; the importance of maintenance for robustness and resilience in a changing climate; adaptation of decision support tools; and outreach to the many smaller municipalities. The workshop output will impact the research and competence building in phase 2 of Mistra InfraMaint 2023-2028.
7. PFAS – Challenges, actions and solutions – How wastewater utilities handle the forever chemicals
PFAS is a large group of polyfluorinated organic compounds that have been used for everything from firefighting foams to Gore-Tex raincoats. Their usefulness lies in their extreme chemical stability – which is also the major problem with PFAS. They are nearly impossible to break down, and can remain in human bodies, and the environment for decades.
This workshop aims to share the knowledge, challenges and best practices between wastewater utilities, researchers and other stakeholders across the Nordic countries. In Denmark PFAS in sludge is a main concern and utilities are looking for efficient ways to eliminate it from the sludge – or better yet: remove PFAS completely through cleaning at the source and a national ban. In Sweden, much focus is on testing various technologies for both specific removal of PFAS from landfill leachate and simultaneous removal of PFAS and pharmaceuticals from municipal sewage, while also advocating for a total ban on PFAS compounds. In Finland studies are being made to document the pathways of PFAS compounds through WWTP’s. In Iceland PFAS compounds have been detected in wastewater but research on the topic is not far along but ongoing. In Norway, studies look into levels of PFAS in sludge and sources, while focusing on upstream measures and supporting the advocacy work for a ban on PFAS compounds.
Through a series of pitches by experts from each country, group questions and panel discussions we will share the latest knowledge and experiences. Participants will be invited to share their knowledge and ask their burning questions to the experts. Participants will leave the workshop with an increased knowledge of sources of PFAS, and new ideas on how to avoid PFAS in the sewage systems and wastewater. They will learn about the applicability of new treatment technologies as well as the pathways of PFAS compounds through WWTP’s.
8. The revised Urban wastewater treatment directive - northern Nordic challenges, priorities and solutions
On 26 October 2022, the European Commission proposed their revised Urban wastewater treatment directive in line with the results of an evaluation and on the basis of an impact assessment, adapting it to the newest standards. With the revision, the European Commission aims to: reduce pollution, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, improve water quality by addressing remaining urban wastewater pollution, improve access to sanitation especially for the most vulnerable and marginalized, make industry pay to treat micropollutants, require EU countries to monitor pathogens in wastewater, and lead to a more circular sector. The political process with adding amendments to the Directive has since October 2022 continued in several of the institutions in the EU as the European Parliament, the Council and the Committee of the Regions. The Directive will probably be decided in the beginning of 2024.
The aim of the workshop is to raise the awareness of the northern Nordic perspectives of the revised Urban wastewater treatment directive, and to discuss possible solutions, both legal and technical, to meet the challenges in the revised Directive.