Water quality is under pressure. More and more so-called emerging contaminants are being detected in natural water systems. The presence of these compounds in water confronts water managers and water companies with big challenges. A number of questions have been raised about the effects, risks and behaviour of these compounds and how water systems should be managed in response. SOLUTIONS develops methodologies to clarify these effects and risks, and to define measures and priorities.

Effect and risk assessment of emerging contaminants

SOLUTIONS focuses on the development of new concepts and tools to assess the effects and risks associated with emerging contaminants, and their metabolites and transformation products. The identification of these contaminants and their effects is done using analytical and effect-based screening tools in combination with ecological assessment tools. SOLUTIONS also aims to develop monitoring systems to identify risks to aquatic ecosystems and public health.

The German research institute, UFZ, is coordinating the project. KWR’s role mostly concerns innovative toxicant management, in which the goal is to integrate possible solutions into the compounds’ risk assessment, and also to have this play a part in the prioritisation process. In addition, KWR – together with several Dutch water companies – is preparing case studies for the Rhine river basin.

Scientific underpinning

SOLUTIONS focuses on the development of a new framework for the prioritisation of compounds, with an eye to their risks to human health and the environment, and the abatement of the effects of compound mixtures in European waters. The project also delivers efficient measurement and modelling methods to identify compounds. The methods developed are being applied in case studies in three large European river basins, including the Rhine’s. SOLUTIONS also foresees the development of compound emissions in scenario studies.



This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.