063 Spree2011

Floating sewerage overflow reservoirs in Berlin, Germany, 2009 (pilot facility)



SPREE2011 is a research project that combines urban recreation with solving problems of sewage storage. The standard underground combined sewer system funnels domestic and commercial wastewater together with rainwater from the streets and roofs into treatment plants. But when it rains heavily, the wastewater often exceeds system storage capacity and diluted sewage ends up in the nearest body of flowing water. In Berlin this happens between five and 30 times a year. SPREE2011 proposes a floating container system directly on the city’s main river, the Spree. When the sewer system overloads, the containers can take up the excess wastewater, allowing it to flow back slowly into the sewer system later. The cuboid cistern modules can be sited at picturesque spots covered with decking and attached to the bank via a jetty to provide recreation platforms for Berliners to enjoy – and perhaps even swim in – their cleaned-up river. The technology can be adapted worldwide.

LURI.watersystems is an organization founded in 2006 to realize SPREE2011. It is initiated by landscape architect Ralf Steeg, who works to together with engineers, communication experts and researchers on this project. It has already raised international attention and was nominated for the Zumtobel Group Award in the category sustainability.