Microplastics in water treatment

Plastics are a ubiquitous part of everyday life and they are found in fresh water throughout the Netherlands. In this project, we describe the nature and levels of microplastics (20 – 500 µm) at different stages of drinking water treatment, and what happens to the microplastics removed from the water.

The project also provides a platform to keep in touch with microplastics projects, initiatives, and knowledge exchanges from other knowledge institutes and consortiums such as Norman. It will focus on how concentrations of microplastics (MPs) develop from source (infiltration and storage basins) and different treatment stages (passage through soil, different drinking water treatments).

During this study, microplastics quantities (both particle size and particle quantity) will be mapped at a few key locations. In addition to determining the amount of microplastics in the natural treatment process, the extent to which plastics are unintentionally released during treatment will also be examined. There is evidence that, for example, the amount of microplastics increases after activated carbon filtration. In addition to this work, the extent to which clients see/perceive microplastics as a problem in relation to drinking water will be explored.