Dirk Esser
President, Global Wetland Technology


I am a German agricultural engineer who relocated to France in 1988 to pursue post-graduate studies and research at Cemagref, now INRAE, the French public research institute.

In 1991, I founded SINT (www.sint.fr) to develop a groundbreaking wetland system, “Phragmifilter®” (also known as the “French System”), consisting of vertical flow filters planted with common reeds (Phragmites) for treating raw, unsettled sewage. To date, there are approximately 4000 such treatment wetlands in France, catering to communities ranging from 40 to 4000 people, with 500 designed by SINT between 1992 and 2007.

In 1992, I co-founded SINBIO, an ecological engineering firm, which was later taken over by its staff in 2019 (www.sinbio.fr). In 1998, I co-founded EPURNATURE, a French Design-and-Build company specializing in treatment wetlands. EPURNATURE became part of SYNTEA in 2018, and SYNTEA subsequently joined SAVEA as part of the CAÏALI Group (http://www.saveanature.fr/).

Additionally, in 2012, SINBIO, EPURNATURE, and eight other prominent treatment wetland companies collaborated to establish Global Wetland Technology (GWT), a non-profit association under French law. The purpose of GWT is to unite efforts in research and development, marketing treatment wetlands, and engaging in international projects.