A novel framework to assess and manage contaminants of emerging concern in indirect potable reuse


Water JPI

A novel framework to assess and manage contaminants of emerging concern in indirect potable reuse

Project Reference:


Ternes Thomas

Bundesanstalt für Gewässerkunde (BfG)


SRIA Themes:

Start Date:

End Date:


Emerging water pollutants (e.g., antibiotics, household chemicals) and pathogens (e.g. antibiotic-resistant bacteria, viruses) are only partially removed by conventional wastewater treatment plants. Thus, both groups of contaminants are continuously discharged into European rivers used as drinking water supplies. This de facto potable water reuse is frequently happing worldwide, including Germany, Italy, France and Norway. There are concerns that emerging water pollutants and pathogens adversely affect aquatic life as well as human health, in particular in European areas with water scarcity problems. In the 3-year project FRAME funded by the Water JPI program, the practices of reusing treated municipal wastewater intentionally to augment European drinking water resources via subsurface treatment is investigated. The practice of recycling treated municipal wastewater effluents to augment drinking water supplies is defined as %u201Cindirect potable reuse (INPR)%u201D. Leading European scientists, engineers and practitioners of seven institutes from four countries (Germany, Italy, France and Norway) are working closely together to develop new strategies for INPR to minimize impacts from a broad range of chemical and biological contaminants, while preserving ecosystems and human health and providing sufficient water quantities. FRAME is addressing important aspects in the context of producing high quality water from recycled water including i) removal efficiencies of emerging contaminants by various treatment processes, ii) detection and removal of transformation products formed by microbial and chemical reactions of the emerging chemicals iii) inactivation of viruses and other pathogens, iv) removal efficiencies of antibiotic resistant bacteria, v) use of bioassays and biomarkers to detect effects caused by specific pollutants and mixtures of pollutants. vi) quantifying the reduction of environmental and human health risks, vii) costs, non-monetary benefits and potential drawbacks of various treatment strategies. FRAME will test several treatment combinations including ozonation and advanced oxidation processes coupled with a new process of sequential biologically active filtration. Modelling transport and fate of emerging contaminants and their transformation products through various treatment combinations will guide in assessing the efficiency of various mitigation strategies. The FRAME concept will influence European and national regulation for INPR and will be primarily validated at water reclamation facilities.

water reuse; contaminant of emerging concern; bioassays

Partner 1:
Jorg Drewes (Technical University of Munich (TUM)) - GERMANY

Partner 2:
Marie Pettenati (French Geological Survey (BRGM)) - FRANCE

Partner 3:
Kevin Thomas (Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA)) - NORWAY

Partner 4:
Stefano Polesello (Istituto di Ricerca sulle Acque, Water Research Institute (IRSA-CNR)) - ITALY

Partner 5:
Mario Carere (Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS)) - ITALY

Partner 6:
Daniel Pierre (GéoHyd) - FRANCE