The owners had to opt for a water recycling system since their restaurant is in a sewer-free area.
This water "is totally healthy and of high quality," said Veerle Depuydt, coordinator of the Flemish Water Knowledge Center (Vlakwa), in the VRT newspaper.
Toilet water turned into drinking water
Toilet and kitchen wastewater goes through several recycling stages before returning to the restaurant compliant with drinking standards. After passing through a device that filters out hard-to-treat fats and through a septic tank, the water is sent to a percolation field where layers of soil and plants purify them further, says VRT.
Some of the water thus purified returns to the toilet, while the other is sent to a special installation, SolarAQ, created by the Belgian company BOSAQ.
The installation contains various filters designed to remove the smallest impurities, kill bacteria and viruses, and neutralize harmful substances. The device includes activated carbon filters and a disinfection system that uses UV radiation, according to the media. But as the treated water becomes too pure to be drinkable, the facility also adds minerals.
The installation of Cuerne "was designed by an engineer who worked in Antarctica," says Professor Stijn Van Hulle of the University of Ghent, who oversees the project.
"Here too, people have to use water sparingly. As in space, where astronauts drink their own urine. It is purified in the same way, "notes the researcher quoted by VRT.
According to him, the wastewater treatment process is constantly monitored.
"The Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) also said the technology was safe," he notes.
The same water purification system is used in Africa to provide water to isolated populations, but the experience is still unprecedented in Europe, the paper concludes.