‘Contaminants of Emerging Concern’ – a partnership in water technology

More and more chemical substances are being produced and used all over the world. At the same time, increasing volumes of water are being abstracted for domestic, industrial and agricultural use. Combined with local water shortages, this exerts pressure on the quality of the water, so that thorough analysis, monitoring, effect assessment and measures are needed. With regard to Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs), the focus is primarily on those contaminants that are difficult to remove from wastewater or drinking water, such as pharmaceutical residues, antibiotics and plant protection products.

Research programme

The collective university research programme is the product of an initiative by NWO-TTW, STOWA, KWR and TKI Water Technology (see The research should lead to a new approach to wastewater treatment and drinking water production with an eye to the mentioned CECs. The programme is directed at the analysis, removal and prevention of water contamination by ‘new’ chemicals, on the basis of three research themes:

  • Effect-based monitoring: besides monitoring individual, known contaminants and contaminant groups, we want to be able to monitor water for the effects of emerging contaminants.
  • Sustainable and affordable treatment techniques: with low energy- and chemical-use and at an acceptable cost.
  • Effective strategy regarding measures: building blocks for a solid package of measures to limit the risks presented by emerging contaminants.

The 5 projects in the CEC programme

The following projects have begun: