Combined sewer system

The sewer system in the new neighbourhoods is different than the sewers in the old neighbourhoods. Find out more about the different sewer systems in Amsterdam.

New neighbourhoods: rainwater and wastewater are collected separately

‘Separate’ means that we collect the rainwater and wastewater separately. The rainwater can be directly released into a river, channel or pond (surface water). Wastewater is dirty water from, for example, toilets and showers. This water has to be treated first, after which it is released onto the surface water.

Old neighbourhoods: combined collection of rainwater and wastewater

The rainwater and wastewater flow into the same sewer system. Normally, this water flows directly to a sewer pumping station. This pumps the dirty water to a water treatment facility. The water is cleaned there and is released back into a river or channel or other surface waters.

During heavy rainfall the sewer cannot always immediately dispose all of the water. This happens about 4 times a year. That water is collected in large catch basins. Most of the dirt sinks to the bottom of the basins. When a catch basin is full the excess water flows into the canals.

Once the sewer system can handle more water, we pump all the water out of the collection basins. The water and the dirt can then flow normally via the sewer system to the treatment facilities. As the collection basins have been emptied they are ready for the next heavy rainfall.

More about the Amsterdam sewer system

View the following Dutch video clip for more information about the Amsterdam sewer system:

Arrange a connection to the public sewer system

Would you like to arrange a connection to the public sewer system? Please complete the tap water and sewer connections application, change or cancellation form (form in Dutch).