Old Wastewater Treatment Plant in Bubeneč (Stará čistírna odpadních vod v Bubenči)
A unique monument, which is a testament to the history of architecture, engineering and wastewater treatment, is located near the Stromovka Royal Game Reserve. On the premises, you can look into the original spaces with remains of the original technology. During the tour you will see the still-functional steam engine room from 1903, photographs and historical documents, a collection of narrow gauge railway vehicles and an exhibition of historical "hygiene furniture"
The tour includes a visit to the underground operations building, where visitors can learn about the history of sewerage and wastewater treatment. One floor above, in the steam engine room, still-functional pump units from 1903 can be seen - these are put into operation on special occasions. Interpretation is complemented by photos and extracts from the original project documentation. The old sewage treatment plant in Prague - Bubeneč is an important document in the history of architecture, engineering and water management. It was built in 1901-1906 as the last systematic sewerage network in Prague. It was responsible for cleaning the majority of Prague’s wastewater until 1967.
The well preserved building of the old wastewater treatment plant in Bubeneč is the oldest preserved facility of its kind in Europe, a unique industrial architecture, a unique Eco monument of world importance, which is interesting both from architectural and technological points of view. Already in 1884, the competition was announced for the project of a new sewerage system and wastewater treatment plant, several projects were drafted but only the project of the famous English engineer William Henry Lindley was implemented - he had a lot of practical experiences from other big European cities and used some positive elements of previous projects of Czech designers in his project. His system of Prague sewerage network used catchment ratios so that sewage pumping was not necessary. The sewerage network discharged in the new wastewater treatment plant in Bubeneč. At that time Prague's sewerage system measured about 90 km. The area of the wastewater treatment plant by Lindley project was built in 1900 - 1906 as a part of the new Prague sewerage system that was designed for 700 000 inhabitants. The sedimentation treatment plant in Bubeneč was the first major water treatment building in Bohemia. It consists of a main operation building with two chimneys, a smoke chimney and a ventilation chimney. Under the ground there is the six feet deep sand trap, ten underground septic tanks, two wells and sewage sludge pump shafts. The sludge from the sedimentation tank was pumped to two sludge tanks on the Emperor’s Island or to ships and those transported it to other sludge tanks, from where they were sold (after drying) as a highly demanded fertilizer. The railway branch led to the sludge tanks on the Emperor’s Island. Then three-stage cleaning efficiency was about 40%. The capacity of the wastewater plant started not to be sufficient from the 1920s and consequently only an extension was built before the World War II. A brand new wastewater treatment plant was built much later, namely in 1967. Today's sewerage system is about 2,400 km long, whereas a part of sewage conduits is man-sized, i.e. greater than 80 cm; other sewage conduits are lower, i.e. less than man-sized. It has about 55,000 manholes and only 19 pumping stations. Today’s wastewater treatment plants reach the efficiency of 90 to 95%. The original wastewater treatment plant area was still in good condition, and so it has been maintained next to the new one. Thus it was possible to establish a foundation in 1992, the mission of which was to operate the Eco-museum in this precious building.
Visitors to the museum come through the inlet crypt, where the water wheel driven by the incoming sludge used to be fitted and consequently the sludge come into the largest underground construction - into a sand trap, where three main municipal sewers discharged. From there they pass to the discharge sluices and mechanical rack catchers and then go down to ten sedimentation tanks, where the primary sludge used as a fertilizer settled. The highlight of the tour is two-storey engine room with two reconstructed steam engines installed in 1904, both still functional, below which there are flood pumps. Also the steam boiler room with the two coal boilers is still functional.