How to deal with micropollutants in water

Possibilities for removal of pharmaceuticals from WWTP effluent

Additional treatment steps for WWTPs; Learning by doing, doing while learning

As WWTPs in general haven’t been designed for the removal of organic micropollutants like pharmaceuticals, significant loads of pollutants enter the water cycle in this way. There is a growing interest in technologies that can be implemented into an existing wastewater treatment process or can be applied as an additional treatment step for the removal of such micropollutants. At this symposium people from water authorities, engineering firms, knowledge institutes and universities, and from drinking water companies discussed new developments and technologies that may be applied for this purpose.

Present situation and new developments

First presentations were given on the present situation of pharmaceuticals in the water cycle, on some examples of additional treatment processes, on developments in sampling and analysis techniques, and on the innovation program of STOWA and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.

Then there were workshops on the application of oxidation techniques, on the use of activated carbon or other adsorbents, on effect measurements (bioassays), on filtration technology, and on the knowledge of wastewater quality and WWTPS. Several research projects were presented, and possibilities, advantages and points of attention were discussed.

Most people appeared to be convinced WWTP effluent will require additional treatment in (near) future, but it still isn’t clear which type of technology would be most suitable. More research will be required to find the technical and economical optimum treatment process, which may depend on the local situation.