Transforming sewage into valuable resources in Korea

The International Water Association’s prestigious Best Practices on Resource Recovery from Water Award, 2017, has been won by technology provider POSCO Engineering and Construction. The award, shared jointly with the Korea Environment Corporation (K-eco) and the city of Anyang, is for the water- and energy-independent wastewater treatment plant in Saemul Park, Anyang, South Korea.

The Saemul Park plant has been constructed underground to ensure greater acceptability with local communities, and allows the surface area above it to be used as a park. The award-winning part of the plant all happens underground. Innovative technologies have allowed the treatment plant to become energy self-sufficient through the production of biogas, while simultaneously recovering water and other valuable resources. The plant has significantly reduced its carbon footprint by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and introduced a ‘Positive Impact Development’ tool to monitor the overall achievement.

Presenting the award during the 2nd IWA International Resource Recovery Conference in New York, chairman of the judging panel, Professor Willy Verstraete, said: “This award is based on two sets of evaluations, one by academics, the other by practitioners. A winning solution must be scientifically sound but also able to be scaled up in the real world. That is quite a challenge and, for the successful winner, a great achievement.”


Water and Energy Independent WWTP through PID technique with Recovering Small Water Cycle


At a time of growing water scarcity, the world faces greater demand for water and other resources. Recovering water and other vital resources like biogas, metals, phosphates and bioplastics from wastewater are critical to deliver a sustainable water sector. The 2017 Award, in partnership with the international knowledge network, WaterShare, is for a proven technology on resource recovery, applied at full or demonstrative scale, which serves as an excellent example for the water sector.

Award jury member, Glen Daigger, commented that, “Pioneers such as those we are recognising with this award are essential if the water sector is to fulfill all our aspirations. They take what we have learned through research and analysis, and then do the further learning necessary to convert them into useful results. Congratulations to all the partners who made the Saemul Park sewage treatment plant possible.”

The winning entry receives the award because it represents the best example of a large-scale, economically feasible, and impactful project that uses resources from the water cycle and transfers scientific knowledge.

Kwak Donggeun, POSCO Engineering and Construction, receives the Award in New York

Upon receiving the award, Kwak Donggeun of POSCO Engineering and Construction, said: “ We are honored that the innovative design and construction of Anyang Saemul Park sewage treatment plants has been recognised as a global role model. The plant realizes three types of resource recovery: water, energy and the climate. The plant is special because it also includes small water cycle balance for climate recovery through a decentralized rainwater management system. It’s an example of how a sewage treatment plant can be transformed from one where energy is consumed and water lost, to the one that produces energy and collects water as a resource.”

Kees Roest of WaterShare, said: “By mutually sharing and learning from the experiences of different areas as well as from colleagues from other regions, performance improvement and creative application of innovative solutions will be possible. This fits within the philosophies of both the IWA and WaterShare.”



IWA Best Practices on Resource Recovery from Water Award 2017 winner:

Water and Energy Independent WWTP through PID technique with Recovering Small Water Cycle

The winning team:

POSCO Engineering and Construction, South Korea
Anyang City, South Korea
Korea Environment Corporation, South Korea

Most Encouraging Example of Good Practice 2017:

Regulating Fat, Oil and Grease waste in Dubai, Dubai Municipality Sustainable Initiative, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Highly Recommended for Further Development 2017:

Cellvation: recovery and re-use of cellulose from sewage, CirTec B.V., The Netherlands


International Award Jury
Willy Verstraete, chairman (Ghent University, Belgium)
Jurg Keller (University of Queensland, Australia)
Haydee De Clippeleir (DC Water, USA)
Staffan Filipsson (IVL, Sweden)
Glen Daigger (IWA past president, USA)


For more information about the IWA Resource Recovery Cluster, please visit IWA Connect