Water purification at VEKA in Sendenhorst
Apr 22, 2024

55 swimming pools of water saved per year

Earth Day: VEKA gets involved

In Germany this year's Earth Day on April 22 is being celebrated under the motto "Water makes life possible". The example of VEKA shows, how much we can achieve in this area with commitment and good ideas.

"Water makes life possible": The organizers of this year’s Earth Day in Germany wanted to promote the protection of rivers, lakes and oceans and the responsible use of drinking water. The example of VEKA shows just how much commitment and good ideas can achieve: by treating rainwater at its headquarters in Sendenhorst, VEKA saves enough water every year to fill 55 Olympic swimming pools.

"When it comes to water, it becomes particularly clear that environmental protection and nature conservation affect us all directly," says Elke Hartleif, who is responsible for human resources on the VEKA Executive Board. "Clean drinking water is a matter of course for us today. To ensure that this remains the case for the next generation and the generations following, we as a family business are also committed to protecting our water."

Constructed wetland on the company premises

A good example of this is the constructed wetland on the company premises, which treats rainwater for use in production. The idea for this came from Christoph Laumann, the son of company founder Heinrich Laumann and brother of Elke Hartleif. He works as a biology teacher in Bonn and regularly talks to his pupils about how to protect the environment and reduce resource consumption.

At the end of the 1990s, this gave him the idea that VEKA could also use the precipitation that falls on halls, parking lots and other paved surfaces. After just one year of construction, the system was put into operation in 1998. Since then, the water is no longer disposed of via the sewage system, but is purified in three stages.

Rainwater becomes cooling water

The first stage of the purely biological treatment process is the so-called primary clarifier. Here, sand and other particles sink to the bottom by gravity and settle at the bottom. In the next stage, the water is then fed into plant beds. The roots of the reed plants are home to countless beneficial bacteria that regard unwanted organic substances in the water as food and break them down into harmless substances such as carbon dioxide, water and nitrogen during digestion.

The final stage of the constructed wetland is a pond. It serves as a cooling water reservoir but can also be used by the fire department to extinguish fires if necessary. This creates a cycle that is replenished by rainfall and only loses water through evaporation. In this way, around 136 million liters of water are saved each year - roughly equivalent to the capacity of 55 Olympic swimming pools.

Water treatment in India

As a globally active company, VEKA is also experiencing that the issue of water poses even more fundamental challenges in other countries. For example, in the Indian village of Mucherla, where the Indian company NCL VEKA's plant is located, there was no purified drinking water for the people for a long time. NCL VEKA has therefore installed a water treatment plant that supplies the villagers with clean water, thereby significantly improving their quality of life.

"These two examples show that you can also make a small contribution to sustainable thinking and planning for the future in a way that is fair to future generations with specific everyday examples," says Elke Hartleif. At VEKA, every processing step from development to recycling is constantly reviewed and optimized in order to reduce the consumption of water and other resources as much as possible. In this respect, Earth Day is an opportunity to reflect on the successes achieved so far and an incentive to continue to set a good example as a family business on the path to a sustainable future.

Wetlands at VEKA in Sendenhorst

At VEKA, the cooling water for production is obtained from rainwater. It is treated in a constructed wetland on the factory premises