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Team Manager

Paul Verhaagen

(+31) 6 118 60 806

Nature based remediation

What if…

we could remediate the soil using all the qualities that nature is already providing. Biological degradation, sun, wind, time… Until some years ago, this all may seem farfetched and highly unlikely. However things have changed. Over the last years we have seen rapid developments in our ability to use biological processes for remediation. We are now at the beginning of what is Nature Based Remediation.


Nature Based Remediation

‘To use nature in the fullest to help us with remedial actions while ensuring  the needs of a remediation’. That is Nature Based Remediation. Of course we are all familiar with various methods that are in line with this approach. For example the application of substrate the enhance the biodegradation of chlorinated solvents in the groundwater. Over many years we have expanded the know-how on this methodology and improved the results and predictability of projects. Now we are working on the next steps: constructed wetlands and standalone remediation units.


Constructed wetlands type approaches for the treatment of domestic waste water are not new. The application of constructed wetlands for the treatment of chemical pollutants is however a science which is rapidly becoming practical reality in projects. The benefits are multiple: the biology provides the treatment for the pollutants, energy consumption of the system is negligible or zero, running cost are very low, no visual nuisance and outflow water can be used to enhance the biological process in the soil. And what is significant: newly developed models allow for an assessment of treatments efficiency and projects costs in an early stage of a project.


Another development are standalone remediation units. Basically, these units are fully self-sustained. Energy for the unit is generated by sun or wind. The generated energy is used for the in-situ technologies that carry out the remedial process. So, even in the remotest sites these units will operate. Key in the set-up is an assessment on what energy is needed to operate a system at what moment in time. An example: air sparging is a widely applied in-situ technology. But for remedial purposes, air sparging does not always have to operate 24 hrs/day. It is often even better to operate this technology in an intermediate fashion. This also applies to LNAPL recovery systems. So, after first  conducting a thorough assessment of remedial demands and combining the actual energy, its turns out that stand alone units are very often feasible.


HMVT & nature based remediation

We are fully committed to nature based remediation. Not only through in-situ biodegradation projects. We are currently involved in many constructed wetland projects, from design all the way through execution. Based on all these experiences we are building the improved models that allow us to move ahead to better design and applying the technology for less conventional type of pollutants. Standalone units are the next nature based approach becoming reality for us.

So, our staff (and nature) are making it a reality!


We have a unique reference portfolio in combining hydraulic groundwater barrier systems with the treating of the extracted groundwaters in a constructed wetland. We also notice a growing interest in these type of control & treatment solutions that can be naturally integrated in the existing environment and landscape. The advantages of constructed wetland water treatment systems are evident:

  • Relatively low investment costs, especially compared to above ground classical water treatment systems.
  • Constructed wetlands are very energy friendly: very low carbon footprint and energy can be generated locally on-site by wind or solar power as well.
  • Low operational costs.
  • Integrated in existing landscapes, no visual nuisance compared to classical water treatment systems, containers or buildings.

Study & Design

Of course each project is unique and this also counts for a constructed wetland solution. A design needs to be solid with respect to biological degradation routes & speed, temperature changes during summer and winter times, space needed, etc. To design our constructed wetlands we have created our own design program to easily check if a wetland solution is feasible and what dimensions would be needed. We also work closely together with the Dutch Research Institute called Deltares.

Instalment, operation & maintenance

After study, design and – if necessary – pilot scale testing, we can of course also install the constructed wetland for you as well as taking care of operation, maintenance and environmental monitoring.

Project Examples:

  • Huis Doorn
  • Zwolle

Constructed Wetlands Association (CWA)

HMVT joined the CWA, a professional association, representing all those who are interested in using wetlands and those practicing in the field of constructed wetland technology. Our aim is to provide quality assurance, establish and maintain the highest standards of design, installation, performance and maintenance of these systems through research, training, seminars, conferences, peer review and accreditation. Together with major water companies, academics, researchers, consultants, engineers, ecologists and end users, we constantly optimize the technology to provide quality assurance and meet the highest design, performance and maintenance standards.

Read more about CWA:

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