Institute of Functional Interfaces

Integrated Evaluation Concept to Assess the Efficacy of Advanced Wastewater Treatment Processes for the Elimination of Micropollutants and Pathogens

  • chair:

    Ternes,T. A. / Prasse,C. / Eversloh, C. L. / Knopp,G. / Cornel,P. /Schulte-Oehlmann,U. / Schwartz,T. / Alexander,J. / Seitz,W. / Coors,A. / Oehlmann, J. (2017) 

  • place:

    Environ. Sci. Technol. 2017, 51, 308−319, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b04855 

  • Date: Dezember 2016


A multidisciplinary concept has been developed to compare advanced wastewater treatment processes for their efficacy of eliminating micropollutants and pathogens. The concept is based on (i) the removal/formation of selected indicator substances and their transformation products (TPs), (ii) the assessment of ecotoxicity via in vitro tests, and (iii) the removal of pathogens and antibiotic resistant bacteria. It includes substances passing biological wastewater treatment plants regulated or proposed to be regulated in the European Water Framework Directive, TPs formed in biological processes or during ozonation, agonistic/antagonistic endocrine activities, mutagenic/genotoxic activities, cytotoxic activities, further activities like neurotoxicity as well as antibiotics resistance genes, and taxonomic gene markers for pathogens. At a pilot plant, ozonation of conventionally treated wastewater resulted in the removal of micropollutants and pathogens and the reduction of estrogenic effects, whereas the in vitro mutagenicity increased. Subsequent post-treatment of the ozonated water by granular activated carbon (GAC) significantly reduced the mutagenic effects as well as the concentrations of remaining micropollutants, whereas this was not the case for biofiltration. The results demonstrate the suitability of the evaluation concept to assess processes of advanced wastewater treatment including ozonation and GAC by considering chemical, ecotoxicological, and microbiological parameters.