FHNW, Switzerland

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Wintgens is Professor in Environmental Technologies at the School of Life Sciences - University of Applied Sciences Northwestern and Arts Switzerland since September 2008...

… He is leading a research team working on water and wastewater treatment technologies in municipal and industrial applications as well as on management of scarce water resources. Thomas graduated as an Environmental Engineer from RWTH Aachen University after studies in Aachen, Delft, Exeter and Helsinki. He did his PhD on membrane bioreactor technology for wastewater treatment. He is currently coordinating the H2020 Innovation Action AquaNES on the combination of natural and engineered treatment options for water supply and water reuse.



Mitigation options for micropollutant emissions from municipal wastewater treatment plants

Thomas Wintgens1, *

1Institute for Ecopreneurship, School of Life Sciences, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland

Among the current water quality challenges to be addressed are organic micropollutants such as pharmaceutical residues, personal care products and endocrine disrupting compounds, which occur in conventionally treated wastewater in the nanogram to microgram per litre range. With ever growing sensitivity of chemical analytical tools and eco-toxicological tests the amount of possibly relevant micropollutants and respective modes of action is increasing. While different effects on aquatic microorganisms have been proven even in very low concentrations, the potential impact on human health is not fully clarified. However, particularly with respect to the protection of water resources utilized for drinking water production and indirect potable reuse the enhanced removal of micropollutants from wastewater is called for by the precautionary principle.

Municipal wastewater treatment plants are important point sources of micropollutants. In Switzer-land an upgrade of relevant municipal wastewater treatment plants is required by law and a number of projects have been implemented or are under planning. Next to this end-of-pipe treatment a range of options is considered to act closer to the source, e.g. in industry and hospi-tals. A range of technologies is available for micropollutant removal from municipal wastewater: e.g. oxidation by ozone, adsorption on activated carbon, dense membrane processes such as nano-filtration and reverse osmosis. The processes in question differ in the removal effectiveness for different classes of compounds, their energy consumption, environmental impact and cost. Dense membrane processes come with a concentrate stream, which also needs to be coped with. The presentation will provide an overview on recent developments in micropollutant removal approaches in advanced wastewater treatment and mitigation options close to the source.