A Brief History of the Vacuum sewage collection Technology

Gravity systems
In the 16th Century B.C. sewage was already transported via a pipe from the Palace "Mari" in the North of Mesopothamy. Also in the Roman period, fresh water was distributed into Roman cities and settlements by using so called "Aqua-ducts" and sewage was collected and transported in the same way. Canalization is nowadays widely introduced, however in many countries the canalization has stopped at the city's boundaries. Villages and rural area's in many countries are not provided by any kind of sewage collection system at all.

Liernur Pneumatic systems (1866)

Pneumatic and mechanical operating vacuum sewage collection systems were firstly introduced in the second half of the 19th century. In 1866 the Dutch engineer and former Captain in the US army, Captain Liernur (1828-1893) introduced at a Congress in the city of Haarlem, The Netherlands, his vacuum operating sewage collection system for toilet waste. He introduced the definition of the so called "black water" for toilet waste. The philosophy was based on the re-use of treated toilet waste for agriculture. In the same year (1866) the Liernur technology was registered as a patent in England and The Netherlands.

Liernur systems were installed in cities in The Netherlands, Amsterdam, Leiden and Dordrecht. Also in Prague (Czech), Trouville (France), Hanau (Germany) and Stansted in England systems of Liernur have been in operation. The Liernur system in Trouville (France) was in operation even until the 80's in this century. Captain Liernur was also a member of the German "Internationaler Verein gegen die Veruntreinigung der Flüsse, des Bodens und der Luft" from its foundation in 1877. The "Preusische Regierung" was very much against the discharge of sewage into the rivers resulting in new laws from 1875 and on about river pollution as listed in the "Ministerialverfügungen and Gutachten".

For many other cities in Europe as Paris, Berlin, Stockholm, Munich, Stutgart, Zurich and Baltimore (USA) designs were made by Liernur and sometimes partly installed but not fully completed.The technical failures, the low standard of technology and changed philosophies about total sewage collection have contributed to the fact that, to date, none of the Liernur vacuum sewage systems are in operation However...

Joel Liljendahl (1956)
In 1956, more than 100 years after Liernur, the Swedish engineer Joel Liljendahl filed a patent on vacuum sewage collection and transport of toilet waste by means of air. The system introduced by Liljendahl had great equality with the Liernur principle. But the technological development of one hundred years contributed to a more viable solution for the Liljendahl's invention. The vacuum operating toilets in the Liljendahl concept were using only 1,5 liter of water per toilet flush. The sewage was drawn into the system by means of air, approx. 50 liter of air per toilet flush. The pipe network was provided with so called "pockets", a kind of syphons, to collect the sewage at no flow situation and form a plug or water lock to make sure that the sewage will be pushed adequately further on through the pipe net work by the next toilet flush.

Electrolux (1968)
Electrolux AB, Sweden bought the rights on the vacuum technology as specified by the inventor Mr. Joel Liljendahl. Electrolux developed and introduced this for use in recreational estates and on board ships. Later on Electrolux developed a vacuum sewage system for collecting and transporting of black and grey water by means of air. This system is called Vacuflow. From the early 70's the Vacuflow system is further developed by the Dutch engineer Dietrich Gottreich Quatfass, working for the Electrolux group in The Netherlands.

EVAC AB (1985)
In 1985 Electrolux sold its total vacuum division, including their new applications for train and aviation systems, to Ifö Sanitair AB in Sweden which continued the vacuum sewage business under the brand name EVAC.

QUA-VAC B.V. (1990)
In 1990 Dietrich Gottreich Quatfass, still active within the EVAC group as Managing Director for Benelux operations, bought all world wide Vacuflow rights from EVAC AB. and continued the development of the Vacuflow technology through QUA-VAC B.V. At the same time QUA-VAC has been appointed EVAC's distributor for the business areas MARINE and INDOOR in The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Since 1990 the Vacuflow technology is widely introduced in a number of countries through out the world. The principle of the system is still based on Liljendahl's so called "saw tooth" pipe profile, however in the mid 80's a new calculation method based on the syphoning effect and the filling degree of the pockets in the lower sections of the pipe network was developed by Dietrich G. Quatfass and the Swedish engineer Sven Oldfelt.

The QUA-VAC company developed a wide range of new vacuum operating discharge valves and controllers of different sizes for different applications. The vacuum sewerage technology is used for many different applications. Alike in protected freshwater area's in The Netherlands as well as in Germany. Also in parts of big cities for example Hong Kong where the old suburbs for the natives, built in carree shape with very narrow streets, are sewered by means of this technology. In the old city of Venice in Italy where, due to the small streets/canals, high water table and risk of floodings the QUA-VAC Vacuflow technology is being used.

Since the beginning of the 90's QUA-VAC in The Netherlands is the main designer & supplier of vacuum sewage systems on the world market. Other companies may be active from time to time in local markets, using different kinds of solutions to handle sewage by means of pneumatic operating valves. Due to the patents filed by Liljendahl other suppliers had to choose alternate means of transport, mainly by changing pipe profile and calculating methods. QUA-VAC is the only designing company who acquired and holds the rights to these patents.

Nowadays QUA-VAC has the most widely spread network of designers and distributors for vacuum sewage systems in the world.


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