Traineeship position: Biological processes in drinking water systems

Location: Andijk

Company profile

Through its inception as a daughter of PWN water utility, PWNT valorized the utilities’ 100 years of experience to develop innovative technologies. Since 2022, PWNT is wholly owned by Nijhuis Saur Industries (NSI), and is in an improved position to bring those technologies to utilities worldwide. Our extensive R&D programs have led to the development of efficient and sustainable solutions in water treatment based on suspended ion exchange, ceramic membrane applications and advanced oxidation, applications that can be used for a wide variety of water sources.

Job description

PWNT is looking for a trainee to participate in research on biological stability and biological processes in the drinking water system of PWN water utility (North-Holland).

  • Duration: 2-3 years
  • Location: North-Holland
  • Full-time (40h)
  • Position type: traineeship

The R&D group of PWNT is conducting research for PWN, the water utility providing drinking water to the region of North-Holland. PWN is facing challenges to maintain the water quality  in some parts of the distribution system supplying water produced from surface water. A large part of the R&D program aims at understanding the cause of the water quality issues with the ultimate objective to design appropriate (treatment) solutions.

As trainee, you will take part in the R&D program performed for PWN water utility, with a dedicated focus on biological stability of drinking water. You will be responsible for the execution of various research projects and contribute to collaborations with other water utilities and institutes. You will be involved in projects covering various aspects of water quality from source to tap. Topics include the study of

  • impact of different water treatment technologies on water quality and biological stability of drinking water
  • impact of different water qualities on microbiological processes and ecology in the distribution system
  • testing of alternative treatment technologies to produce biological stable water.

All research topics involve the study of complex (micro)biological processes in the water systems. In the coming years, more efforts will be put into the use of molecular methodologies.


You will be working on various research projects, allowing you to build strong scientific background as well as good working experience. Your tasks will include:

  • Defining experimental plans (in close collaboration with mentor and project partners)
  • Planning and execution of monitoring programs
  • Data analysis, interpretation and reporting
  • Presentation of results in Dutch and international workshops and conferences
  • Participation to joint research programs with other institutes and water utilities
  • (co)-supervision of students / interns
  • Contribution to peer-reviewed publications
  • Drafting of a biological stability syllabus on biological stability for drinking water practitioners (PWN)


The candidate should have the following profile :

  • Education : Msc degree in environmental engineering, Microbiology / aquatic ecology, and / or Biochemistry
  • Knowledge and experience on molecular methods is a plus
  • Ability to process and analyse large data sets.
  • Writing skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Languages: Fluency in English ; good level in Dutch would be beneficial
  • Independent, capable of self-structuring his/her work and taking initiatives
  • Good communication skills

What do we offer you?

PWNT is a dynamic company with about 35 employees.

The R&D group counts 5 experienced researchers on water quality and treatment technologies, working on diverse topics such as membrane filtration, ion exchange, advanced oxidation, reuse of waste streams, and biological processes in water systems. You will be mentored by a researcher with more than 10 years of experience on the topic of biological stability and water quality.

Education and development opportunities
Your work will be done in close collaboration with PWN water utility and provide you with a broad overview of drinking water practices at treatment and distribution level. Drafting a syllabus on biological stability will also provide you with a strong learning curve on the topic.

You will be involved in various research projects in close collaboration with other water utilities and research institutes, which will provide you with the opportunity to build a broad professional network in the water sector.

Besides, the traineeship position includes an education and development trajectory for the candidate. The learning objectives will be defined together with you depending on your profile, expertise and ambitions, but may include:

  • Following the PAOTM course on biological stability of drinking water
  • Following additional technical courses or training on water treatment and distribution, molecular methods or other relevant topics
  • Following a Dutch course (for candidates who are not proficient in Dutch)
  • Training on project management.

Would you like more information about our organization? Please check out our site:


Are you interested and do you want more information about this vacancy?
Please contact Emmanuelle Prest :

To apply, send a motivation letter and a CV to
We look forward to your application!

Acquisition in response to this vacancy is not appreciated.