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Fully virtual IWA Nutrient Recovery and Removal Conference brings together the experts of wastewater treatment

The conference is organized by Aalto University Water and Environmental Engineering research group and Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority HSY in collaboration with International Water Association.
Banner for NRR2020 conference

The IWA Nutrient Recovery and Removal Specialist Group is tackling the key challenge of wastewater treatment – how to transform efficient nutrient removal processes into carbon neutral recovery facilities. Building on the 2017 NRR/LWWTP conference held in China and the 2018 NRR conference held in Brisbane, Australia, NRR2020 will take a big step and go fully virtual. 

The conference, which is coordinated from Finland, was originally set to be held in Otaniemi campus area. However, due to the current corona situation, the conference will be held virtually. This means that the success stories of the protection of Baltic Sea will be shared on-line and the conference participants can enjoy the lacy coast with thousands of islands and bays virtually. 

Besides the speakers and presentations, the programme contains virtual excursions, virtual sauna, workshop and conference party. The virtual excursions take participants to Viikinmäki wastewater treatment plant, which is the largest one in Nordic countries, and to Hermanninsaari wastewater treatment plant in Porvoo. The virtual visit to Hermanninsaari is made by a group of Master’s students from the Water and Environmental Engineering programme.

“I’ve always thought that the social program and meeting people are the most important things in the scientific conferences. That is why it was a big shock when we realized that it is impossible organize a conventional event at the moment. With virtual NRR2020 we’ve put a lot of efforts in getting people to really meet each other and just spend time chatting. Maybe this will happen in the virtual sauna!", comments Professor of Practice Anna Mikola, the chair of the conference. 

"At first it was a huge disappointment to change all of the plans, but now it feels great to do some pioneering steps with this new type of event. Virtual event also has a lot smaller carbon footprint than conventional events, which require travelling from people. Virtual event is also truly accessible to everybody – also for those who can’t travel”, Mikola adds. 

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