LIFE Project Cover Photo

Decentralized innovative treatment of ammonium-rich urban wastewater

Reference: LIFE16 ENV/IT/000345 | Acronym: LIFE DeNTreat



The Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive encourages the installation of wastewater collection systems and treatment plants for all urban wastewaters (covering both domestic and industrial sewerage). Over the past 15 years, Digital Textile Printing technology has been gaining popularity around the textile manufacturing districts, with around a quarter of the European textile printing industry, on average, currently using it. For manufacturers in the Como district and in Portugal, the figures are 60% and 20%, respectively. Even if it is cheaper and technically better than traditional printing, Digital Textile Printing is considered responsible for an increase of more than 200% of nitrogen in wastewaters, resulting in an increase in treatment costs as well as in N2O emissions and sludge volumes. This situation has made it impossible for some traditional wastewater treatment plants to be compliant with environmental regulations.



LIFE DeNTreat aimed to demonstrate innovative decentralised wastewater pre-treatment modules, based on the Anammox (ANaerobic AMMonium Oxidation) microbial process, and to show that this technology can sustainably reduce nitrogen pollutants linked to discharges from the textile industry, hence reducing the nitrogen content of urban wastewaters.

The specific project objectives were to:

  • Obtain a residual nitrogen content below 100 mg/l in the wastewater released in the collection system;
  • Comply with the requirements of Article V of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive by ensuring that the minimum percentage of reduction of the overall load entering all urban WWTP is at least 75% of the total nitrogen produced;
  • Ensure that residual nitrogen concentration in WWTP discharges is maintained below 10 mg/l;
  • Save up to 40% on investments and operational costs;
  • Reduce by 20% N2O emissions during biological wastewater treatment, compared to traditional technologies; and
  • Reduce by 25% the sludge produced in the nitrogen reduction process.

LIFE DeNTreat was expected to help with compliance to a set of EU policies such as the abovementioned Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive, which requires urban wastewater collecting systems in sensitive areas reduce overall load of total nitrogen by at least 75%. Thanks to LIFE DeNTreat technologies, such requirements could be met more easily. Furthermore, the project would contribute to the implementation of the Industrial Emissions Directive, which aims to minimise pollution from various industrial sources throughout the EU.



The LIFE DeNTreat project demonstrated innovative decentralied wastewater pre-treatment modules, based on the Anammox (ANaerobic AMMonium Oxidation) microbial process. This technology reduced nitrogen pollutants linked to discharges from the textile industry.



Specifically, the project:


  • Designed and installed a laboratory-scale pilot unit to test wastewater samples from different companies and provided preliminary indications on the applicability of the DeNTreat system;
  • Designed and assembled a pre-industrial wastewater treatment plant based on Anammox technology capable of processing 40 m3/day of wastewater (the DeNTreat system);
  • Installed the demonstration plant above in the premises of associated beneficiary Stamperia di Cassina Rizzardi (SCR), an Italian company specialised in the printing and dying of fabrics, and treated part of the wastewater generated by the company during its industrial process over a period of 30 months;
  • Fine-tuned and validated the DeNTreat technology, reducing the nitrogen pollution released in the collection systems to a concentration of less than 100 mg/l;
  • Performed a Life Cycle Assessment analysis and a socio-economic analysis to highlight environmental and socio-economic benefits of the DeNTreat system, based on the evaluation of different scenarios;

Developed a Business Plan and a Replicability Plan to facilitate the commercialisation of the DeNTreat technology, targeting in particular companies using Digital Textile Printing in Italy and the rest of Europe.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).





Reference: LIFE16 ENV/IT/000345
Acronym: LIFE DeNTreat
Start Date: 01/07/2017
End Date: 31/03/2021
Total Eligible Budget: 1,391,893 €
EU Contribution: 835,133 €
Project Location:


Coordinating Beneficiary: LARIANA DEPUR S.p.A.
Legal Status: PCO
Address: via Raimondi, 1, 22100, Como,
Contact Person: Giovanni Bergna
Email: Send Email
Website: Visit Website

LIFE Project Map



  • Textiles - Clothing
  • Waste water treatment


  • waste water treatment
  • textile industry
  • industrial pollution


  • Directive 91/271 - Urban waste water treatment (21.05.1991)
  • Directive 2010/75 - Industrial emissions (integrated pollution prevention and control) (24.11.2010)


Name Type
LARIANA DEPUR S.p.A. Coordinator
European Apparel and Textile Confederation, Belgium Participant
Politecnico di Milano, Italy Participant
Stamperia di Cassina Rizzardi S.p.A., Italy Participant


Type Resource
Project web site Project's website
Publication After-LIFE Communication Plan
Publication Layman report
Publication Project's Final technical report
Project web site - 2 Project's Facebook page
Project web site - 2 Project's Twitter page
Newsletter "LIFE DeNTreat: Newsletter 1 - 16/07/2018" (1,78 MB)
Newsletter "LIFE DeNTreat: Newsletter 2 - 14/06/2019" (1,73 MB)
Newsletter "LIFE DeNTreat: Newsletter 3 - 03/05/2020" (1,09 MB)
Leaflet "LIFE DeNTreat - Innovative treatment of urban waste water" (448 KB)