By Ailish Lalor
On 24th November last year, some members of the City Water Project went on a tour of the dune water production facility of Dunea, the drinking water company for the Den Haag region. We were met in the visitor’s entrance by a lovely guide, who practically forced tea and cakes upon us.
After an introductory video about the company’s history, technology, performance and water souces, we braved the freezing outdoors to visit the dunes that Dunea uses to filter river water into a cleaner state. The interesting part was that Dunea has protected its dunes as a nature reserve, with wildlife that included birds eager to check out the recorded calls he played from his phone.
At the beginning of our tour we stood on a grass-covered area under which, we were told, was the finished product— clean tap water. Until recently, they had left this open to the air, but in order to stop adding chlorine to the water, they had covered it, in order to prevent contamination from animal feces or drownings.
Then we were taken around the different buildings which cleaned and processed the water in different ways. One of the most interesting buildings held a tank of water which was slowly being decalcified by the use of small balls which the extra minerals naturally adhered to. We also saw a rather spectacular waterfall room where oxygen was reintroduced to the water according to government regulations; when water is kept underground for a long time it loses much of its oxygen. It was an impressive sight. We also visited the control centre, where the treatment systems were constantly monitored for water quality. Our guide said that the company preferred not to release information on all their successful test results because people might worry at the mere mention of quality. This belief seems to be misplaced, because our survey data show that people would like to hear more about the quality of their water.
After our return to thevisitor centre and very welcomed warm drinks, we talked for awhile longer with our helpful guide. Dunea is clearly working hard for its customers, but we wanted to see if we could improve the impact of that work.