Water Sector

New university research programme on ‘emerging contaminants’

An initiative of STW, STOWA, TKI Water Technology and KWR

‘Emerging contaminants’ or ‘contaminants of emerging concern’ are terms we use essentially to refer to a large and diverse group of organic micropollutants that can end up in the environment. They include for instance pharmaceutical residues, pesticides and microplastics, but also industrial (intermediate) products like pyrazole. Once in the environment, these substances present a potential hazard to ecosystems and drinking water sources.

This is an important issue which affects the entire (urban) watercycle and raises a number of significant unanswered questions. This is why STW, STOWA, TKI Water Technology and KWR request the Dutch universities to seek groundbreaking solutions within three key research themes:

  1. Effect-oriented monitoring: besides monitoring for individual, known substances and substance groups, we want to be able to monitor water for the effects of emerging contaminants.
  2. Sustainable and affordable treatment techniques: with low energy and chemicals use at an acceptable cost.
  3. Effective strategy for measures: building blocks for a package of sound measures to limit the hazards of emerging contaminants[JA1]

The initiators request the Dutch universities to get to the bottom of the issues surrounding emerging contaminants and how to manage them. To this end, a multi-annual university research programme is to be set up, which will be closely harmonised with ongoing research that the initiators themselves are already conducting. For this, see stowa.nl, kwrwater.nl, stw.nl en tkiwatertechnologie.nl. Pre-proposals need to be submitted no later than 15 November 2016 go to the website of STW.