Grand waterworks will provide the Danish capital with softened drinking water

The new waterworks will be built in flexible and sustainable designs with respect for the natural surroundings.

The new waterworks will be built in flexible and sustainable designs with respect for the natural surroundings. Illustration: PLH Architects

The largest utility company in Denmark is in the process of replacing seven of their largest waterworks with brand new and state-of-the-art facilities, in order to provide the capital area with softer drinking water and better security of supply. The country's leading specialists work together to solve the challenging large-scale project.

March 17, 2021
  • SDG: #6
  • SECTORS: Water
  • COUNTRIES: Denmark
  • CLIENT: Greater Copenhagen Utility

In future, the inhabitants of Copenhagen will have even better drinking water quality and at the same time greater security of water supply. The company ‘Greater Copenhagen Utility’ is in the process of replacing seven of their largest waterworks, which supply drinking water to the capital area in Denmark, Europe.

After rebuilding the waterworks, Greater Copenhagen Utility will be able to supply softer water to more than half of the consumers in Copenhagen and the surrounding municipalities. The modernization of the waterworks will also mean that the drinking water, which is transported into the city through kilometers of water mains, will have a higher food security. 

This is due to higher standards, where the water treatment takes place in completely closed circuits instead of on systems with open water surfaces and cascade aeration as in the old facilities.

Process plants brought up to date

Rebuilding the large waterworks with new water treatment technologies are challenging and professionally demanding projects. The work extends over several years, as it is expected that the first three plants will be in operation by 2024.

It is the buildings themselves as well as the interior of the waterworks in the form of process plants that must be brought into the ‘new’ millennium. All the waterworks have many years behind them since they have been producing drinking water for up to 70 years.

“With the new waterworks, more than half of our drinking water production will be softened. The process entails a redesign of the entire production to comply with new standards. There is a great demand for softer water from both consumers and companies in the supply area of the Danish capital. That is why we will continuously roll out this modernization at all of our seven regional waterworks.”

Erling Fischer, Project Director for Waterworks and Softening, Greater Copenhagen Utility.

International experience within softening 

For the challenging task, Greater Copenhagen Utility has assembled a broad team of the country's most skilled specialists and advisers. To take on the task of implementing softening on a scale not previously implemented in Denmark, consultants NIRAS and Krüger have chosen to join forces in a consortium that designs the complicated process plants. 

“These are the largest waterworks in Denmark. No such large waterworks have been built in the country in the last 50 years, so the size of the facilities alone is a challenge. Furthermore, we are to introduce a completely new softening technology according to Danish conditions, and here are the biggest challenges.”

John Kristensen, Project Manager, NIRAS.

To ensure the best, international knowledge about softening, the consortium has teamed up with the Dutch consulting firm Witteveen + Bos to ensure that Dutch experience is included in the project.

Good collaboration and knowledge sharing between the many specialists on the task is a key priority. Consequently, the entire team is working together at a shared project office. Here, Greater Copenhagen Utility’s own employees work side by side with consultants from NIRAS, Krüger, COWI, ØLLGAARD, Emcon, PLH Architects and SWECO.


Softening is about removing lime from the drinking water. In these projects, it will be done according to the pellet method. It is a well-established technology in the Netherlands and Germany, but it has only been tested on a small scale in Denmark.

Here, Greater Copenhagen Utility introduced it at one of their slightly smaller waterworks, which since 2017 has supplied more than 35,000 Copenhageners with softer water.

Read more about softening and the pellet method here.

Get in touch

John Brian Kristensen

John Brian Kristensen

Market Director

Aarhus, Denmark

+45 8732 3219

Jens Brandt Bering

Jens Brandt Bering

Executive Vice President

Allerød, Denmark

+45 2141 8303

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