On Wednesday, 25th April, IHE Delft participated in the follow-up project meeting of the EMPORE – Life project, on the development of an efficient and sustainable methodology for emerging pollutants removal in wastewater treatment plants.
Polluted drinking water, polluted environment
Pharmaceuticals, hormones and pesticides are contaminating wastewater, river systems, and even our drinking water. These pollutants are called ‘emerging pollutants’ and are not regulated, nor are wastewater treatment plants designed to remove these pollutants from wastewater, making it highly likely that emerging pollutants are present in the water we drink from our taps.
These emerging pollutants enter water through human excretion or through flush disposal of unused medication. To make matters worse, emerging pollutants hinder the reuse of water, as the efflux from wastewater treatment plans serves as the main source for these pollutants, as they are not completely removed in conventional wastewater treatment plants. While it is still uncertain whether these pollutants can cause damage to public health and the environment, it is likely that they will have negative environmental consequences and create possible public health concerns if the issue is not addressed soon.
A pilot plant
The EMPORE – Life project aims to develop an innovative and cost-efficient technology for the removal of emerging pollutants in European wastewater treatment plants. A pilot plant is due to be designed and integrated into the wastewater treatment plan of Benidorm, Spain, and the developed technology will potentially be replicated and used throughout the European Union. The prototype will consists of four principal processing units: filtration/absorption by columns, filtration by membrane technology, Electrochemical Advanced Oxidation Processes (EAOPs) and Advanced Oxidation Processes (AOPs). The methods of removal will be tested on three selected groups of emerging pollutants and once the project is concluded, the most effective combination of treatments can be proposed for a particular set of emerging pollutants.
The EMPORE – Life project is co-financed by the European Commission’s LIFE Programme, with Laboratorios Tecnologicos de Levante coordinating and leading the project. IHE Delft plays a key role in the project, as it will assess the presence and severity of emerging pollutants in the European Union’s waters. Additionally, IHE Delft will also evaluate the performance of the pilot plant and the transferability of the methodology of emerging pollutants’ removal to other regions in the European Union. Further partners also include Entitat de Sanejament d’Aigues (EPSAR), the public entity of sanitation wastewater of the Valencian Community, Universidad de Alicante, AIDIMME Technology Institute on Metal-Processing, Wood, Furniture and related industries, and CONSOMAR, a civil engineering firm.
Read more about the project here.