In order to fulfil its tasks, the Ruhrverband plans, constructs, funds, and operates more than 800 water management facilities (reservoirs, sewage treatment plants, impounding lakes, stormwater tanks, pumping stations, hydroelectric power stations, and waste disposal facilities) as a one-stop provider. This is quite special inasmuch as the Ruhrverband does not only assume administrative and operative functions but also takes care of planning and construction in-house. The experience gained from running one facility can thus be used directly for improving the way another plant works.
In the past, this comprehensive approach was somewhat indispensable as there was very little know-how outside the company - particularly regarding sewage treatment plants, as in 1927, when the Ruhrverband built the first fully biological treatment plant in Essen-Rellinghausen. More recently, this synergy helped to achieve considerable savings when an investment programme for sewage treatment plants was carried out. The success of this synergetic approach is underlined by the high quality of discharge from Ruhrverband sewage treatment plants, the quality of Ruhr water, and the constant supply of water.
Construction and operation of water management facilities is taken care of in three decentralised regional offices of the Ruhrverband to ensure geographic proximity. Planning in the areas of process engineering, mechanical and electrical engineering, waste disposal and process development, however, takes place in central organisational units so as to be able to make the best possible use of the experience gained in the various regional units.
In the 1980s, the Ruhrverband also took charge of rainwater treatment and has since been linked even more closely with our associates at municipal level. The Ruhrverband operates around 550 facilities which store and pre-treat stormwater mixed with sewage and transfer it to sewage treatment plants, usually once the rain has stopped. In some places, cooperation with our members has become so close that the Ruhrverband has also taken charge of operating municipal sewer networks on behalf of some local municipalities.