Greening the wastewater pumping stations

Our aim is to reduce the amount of concrete used. Less pavement means greater infiltration and a reduction in the warming effect.
Expanding the green-blue network

City : Flanders

Region : Flanders

Project by : Aquafin

Joined on : Oct 2022


Until now, the wastewater pumping stations we built, were merely fenced with 2m high Bekaert wire mesh panels in order to ensure the safety of the environment and our operators. A green screen was only installed, if requested by the permit-issuing authority.

New design guidelines are scheduled for the fall of 2022.

These will always provide for a green screen, except upon explicit request not to provide one. Also, the fence is only put around the pumping station and not the entire site. This allows for less soil sealing, since everything within the fence must be paved to ensure accessibility.

Who is involved?

Internal departments Aquafin, engineering departments of the contractors.

Nature-based solutions

In the new draft guidelines, we aim for less soil sealing. Less soil sealing means more infiltration and less urban heating. The green screen and, if possible, a small flower meadow will benefit biodiversity. Our wastewater pumping stations have a limited surface. This means the impact per pumping station will be limited, but since we have more than 2,000 pumping stations, we go by the principle of 'many a little makes a mickle'.

So in the long run, it can make a difference: our pumping station can be one of many small stepping stones for biodiversity.

How are the criteria met?

This new proposed directive will enhance biodiversity and the green screen will provide a green element in an urbanised area.

Criteria :

Respect and/or enhance the specific environmental and ecological qualities of the area (e.g. topography, landscape type, local flora and fauna, etc.).

Using nature/natural processes to support biodiversity to meet the challenges of climate change, water management (including flood management).

Maintenance criterion:
Aquafin has drawn up biodiversity management guidelines for each site, which are included in a framework contract for the management of green spaces.

We are committed to better water management, where rainwater can infiltrate as much as possible into the ground and is no longer drained. The wadi or buffer to be created will also be biodiverse.

More blue and green and less grey.


As with the solar panels, we are involving many technical people in this story. The good cooperation and dialogue with the technical people ensures that there is also more understanding among them about this new approach.

We also note that greater awareness has emerged when talking about the importance of biodiversity and water management.

Other projects linked to the objective "Nature-based solutions"

Organic farm 'Natuurboerderij Bolhuis'

Organic farm 'Natuurboerderij Bolhuis'

La ferme naturelle « Het Bolhuis » est une ferme d’élevage biologique qui travaille en étroite collaboration avec « Natuurpunt » et « Agentschap voor Natuur en Bos » (ANB).

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Enhancing local biodiversity

Enhancing local biodiversity

Aquafin has more than 200 wastewater treatment plants in Flanders. Since 2021, all these plants are being converted into fully biodiverse locations and maintained as such.

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