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A sewage treatment plant can look like a garden

RDLS – a spin-off of the University of Warsaw – in consortium with Czech Dekonta has completed the construction of one of the largest passive sewage treatment plants (constructed wetland) in Europe. Once started up, the system can service 1,800 residents.

The same consortium (RDLS and Dekonta) has also commenced work on a “design and build” project in Udrzynek in the Brańszczyk commune. At the end of 2021, there’ll be a constructed wetland sewage treatment plant servicing 1,750 residents.


“The first large passive sewage treatment systems are being built in Poland. More and more local governments are asking about how they can implement this eco-friendly wastewater management alternative. In September, we completed construction of one of the largest European installations of this type in the Dębowa Kłoda commune, and at the same time, we commenced work on building a constructed wetland sewage treatment plant in the Brańszczyk commune,” said Łukasz Rodek, CEO of RDLS (Research & Development for Life Sciences), a spin-off of UW specialising in environmental technologies.

Poles also want eco-friendly treatment options

Last week, the tourist town of Białka in the Dębowa Kłoda commune in the Lubelskie voivodship held an opening of one of the largest passive sewage treatment plants in Europe. The facility has a capacity of 180m³ per day and is able to service both 250 permanent residents and thousands of tourists who visit every year – in the summer period, the total number of people in the area reaches 2,500. The treatment plant in Białka was designed by scientists of the University of Life Sciences in Lublin and the Gdańsk University of Technology, and was built by RDLS in consortium with the Czech Dekonta. Dekonta has almost 30 years of practical experience in designing and building these types of systems. It has implemented over 50 such projects. The value of the contract for the construction of the treatment plant in Białka was PLN 3.7 million.


“The treatment plant is a solution to the problems of Białka residents related to sewage and purity of water in the lake, which is one of the main tourist attractions of the town. Thanks to its natural look, the passive technology will blend in with the landscape, and as a result of the treatment, the system puts out clean water into the local ecosystem. The facility meets all environmental standards, the structure is sealed, and runs year-round, which is crucial, because the surrounding areas are covered by the Natura 2000 programme,” said Grażyna Lamczyk, Dębowa Kłoda Commune Head, during the official opening of the treatment plant.


In September this year, RDLS and Dekonta began the design stage, and by the end of next year, they’ll build the constructed wetland treatment plant in the Brańszczyk commune. The undertaking will cost PLN 6 million and will successfully solve the problem of overloading an outdated classic treatment plant.

How does a passive treatment plant work?

A constructed wetland treatment plant mimics the hydraulic and habitat conditions of natural wetland ecosystems. In such a soil-plant system, in which the soil is saturated with water, the biological treatment process occurs using appropriate filters (with the participation of various microorganisms that inhabit the developed root and rhizome system of aquatic and water-loving plants). Microorganisms have a huge role to play in passive systems: they degrade and assimilate carbon compounds, retain phosphorus compounds and heavy metals, and are responsible for the assimilation and volatilisation of nitrogen compounds, as well as for the precipitation of sulphur compounds. It’s a natural and eco-friendly solution that doesn’t use chemicals. Compared with traditional treatment plants, they use much less energy.