Our oceans and waters are under great pressure. If our lakes and oceans are to flourish and we are to continue having access to clean drinking water in the future, we must protect our waters from hazardous substances and start to see wastewater as a resource.

According to the UN over two billion people lack access to clean water and wastewater treatment services. The prevailing trend, both in Sweden and other parts of the world, is a migration from rural areas to cities. This places great demands on urban water supplies and sustainable wastewater management.

There are many challenges in water research. Nutrients in wastewater contribute to eutrophication. Drug residues that are difficult to separate in treatment plants harm wildlife. All over the world groundwater levels are sinking and climate change will lead to further upsets in water supply systems.

IVL's activities in the water sector address the entire water system — freshwater and marine environments, groundwater, drinking water, wastewater and stormwater. We tackle everything, from identifying emissions sources to sampling and analysis and the development of effective treatment and warning systems.

Wastewater as a resource

Many of our activities are directed toward various types of environmental studies such as the risk assessment of leachate emissions, the inventory of marine environments and investigations into the risks coupled with the introduction of alien species. In addition we research how hazardous substances and activities are likely to affect our ecosystems on land, water and in forests. We also model the way in which pollutants are transported.

Our research and development facility Hammarby Sjöstadsverk continually tests the progressive purification treatments designed to produce biogas from sludge residues and to recycle wastewater directly instead of discharging it into lakes and seas. Water research is one of IVL's major business areas. We have followed developments in the Baltic Sea since the 60’s. Our work on water issues is characterized by a holistic approach and often touches upon contiguous areas such as climate and energy, chemicals and environmental technology.