Research

Research actively contributes to the development and success of water reuse schemes in Europe. And for this reason, one of our missions at WRE is to promote research and innovation on water reuse across Europe.

Here you will find highlights of some research projects taking place in Europe and beyond.

If you are involved in research and development on water reuse, and would like to let our community know on this page, contact us at: info@water-reuse.eu

Research Projects


FRAME: A NOVEL FRAMEWORK TO ASSES AND MANAGE CONTAMINANTS OF EMERGING CONCERNS IN INDIRECT POTABLE REUSE

Funder(s):
 
Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Germany)
The Research Council of Norway
ONEMA – French national agency for water and aquatic environments
MIUR – Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (Italy)
Timescale: 
  March 2015 – March 2018
     
 
 
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. Consequently, both these groups of contaminants are continuously discharged into European rivers from which the water is used for supplying drinking water. There are concerns that emerging water pollutants and pathogens adversely affect aquatic life as well as human health, in particular in European regions with water scarcity problems.
 
The European research initiative Water JPI funds the 3-year project FRAME. The practices of reusing treated municipal wastewater via subsurface treatment to augment European drinking water resources are investigated. 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 to minimize impacts of a broad range of chemical and biological contaminants. Preserving ecosystems and human health while providing drinking water in sufficient quantities are major aims of the research.

 

For more information on this project, please visit the FRAME website at: www.frame-project.eu or contact:

Prof. Thomas A. Ternes
Federal Institute of Hydrology
Am Mainzer Tor 1
56068 Koblenz
Germany
E: ternes@bafg.de  

 


 ANSWER/H2020-MSCA-ITN-2015/675530

"Antibiotics and mobile resistance elements in wastewater reuse applications: risks and innovative solutions".

Funder(s):
  European Commision (H2020)
Grant Holder:
  Nireas-International Water Research Center, University of Cyprus
Timescale: 
  Oct 2015 - Sept 2019
 

 

 

The main objective of ANSWER/H2020-MSCA-ITN-2015/675530 is to develop well-trained and creative Early-Stage Researchers (15 ESRs) through innovative PhD projects to reveal the highly complex factors driving antibiotics and antibiotic-resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes (A&ARB&ARGs) propagation in the framework of urban wastewater reuse.

ANSWER is developing knowledge and further understanding of the reuse practice, with the aim to reduce environmental and possible public health risks and identify opportunities for establishing safe reuse systems. ANSWER aims at answering critical questions related to wastewater reuse, and in particular to provide consolidated insight on the potential effects of the reuse practice with regard to antibiotic resistance. The pioneer leadership of Europe in the field of contaminants of emerging concern in the environment, will be sustained through ANSWER, whose benefits will be of scientific, technological, economical and of course societal character and significance. The European society has many to gain from ANSWER, including contributions towards clean environment and health protection.

ANSWER intends to result in a long-lasting network for future cooperation between the involved institutions, creating a training platform that will continue in the future, having a strong impact both on the scientific community and on the careers of the ESRs.

The network consists of 10 beneficiaries and 8 partners, from 9 countries (Austria, Cyprus, Germany, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, and the Netherlands). ANSWER is coordinated by Dr. D. Fatta-Kassinos (Nireas-International Water Research Center, University of Cyprus) and is organized into 5 Technical Working Packages (WPs) with the following objectives:

Work package title
Objective
 
WP1 - Spread and transmission of A&ARB&ARGs under wastewater reuse scenarios
Understanding of the mechanisms related to the fate/evolution of A&ARB&ARGs transmission from treated wastewater to soil, crops, and water resources and assessing of their potential risks.  
     
WP2 - Evaluation of A&ARB&ARGs effects and hazard identification 
Development of novel tools for the detection of antibiotic resistance in wastewater/water/soil/crops and identification of the transformation products (TPs) of selected antibiotics formed by selected treatment processes.  
     
WP3 - Innovative technological solutions for the removal of A&ARB&ARGs
Evaluation of the efficiency of innovative technologies for minimizing A&ARB&ARGs and determination of their market penetration potential.  
     
WP4 - A&ARB&ARGs fate prediction through modelling approaches
Development of models to describe/predict the fate of A&ARB&ARGs from treated wastewater to soil, ground/surface water, and crops and assessment of their potential risk.  
     
WP5 - Data management, prioritisation and policy guidelines development
Integration of all empirical data in a web-based database for automated prioritisation of chemical/biological risk factors and establishment of ELVs for antibiotics, TPs and ARB&ARGs in wastewater.   
     

 

For more information on this project, please visit the project website at visit: http://www.answer-itn.eu/ 

You can also follow the activities of the ASNWER project on Twitter, Facebook and ResearchGate.


NEREUS COST ACTION ES1403

"New and emerging challenges and opportunities in wastewater reuse"

Funder(s):
  COST Association (COST is supported by the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020)
Grant Holder:
  Nireas-International Water Research Center, University of Cyprus
Timescale: 
  Nov 2014 - Nov 2018
 
Logo Nereus 
 

The NEREUS COST Action facilitates enhanced knowledge gathering and sharing through a multidisciplinary network of experts (332 participants from 40 countries) allocated to 5 interactive Working Groups (WGs), which aims at providing knowledge related to wastewater reuse and the current challenges with regard to contaminants of emerging concern, including antibiotic-resistant bacteria and resistance genes (ARB&ARG). The Action is chaired by Dr. D. Fatta-Kassinos (Nireas-International Water Research Center, University of Cyprus) and co-chaired by Dr. C. Manaia (Catholic University of Portugal).

Management Committee and Working Groups meeting, October 2015, Luxembourg.

 

To reach its ultimate aim, the work plan of the Action is structured into the following WGs:

WG title
Objectives
 
WG1 - Microbiome and mobile antibiotic resistome in treated wastewater and in downstream environments
(Leader: Dr. E. Cytryn, Vice-leader: Prof. Th. Berendonk)
(i) to propose standardization of procedures used for ARB&ARG detection and quantification in water and soil samples, (ii) to identify the most prevalent and/or potentially hazardous ARB&ARG in effluents and downstream environments, (iii) to assess the fate of ARB&ARG discharged in treated wastewater and released in surface water and soils, and (iv) to identify the conditions favouring ARB&ARG persistence or proliferation.  
     
WG2 - Uptake and translocation of organic microcontaminants and ARB&ARG in crops
(Leader: Dr. J. Bayona, Vice-leader: Prof. B. Chefetz)
(i) to identify the main physicochemical characteristics affecting the behavior of microcontaminants including ARB&ARG with regard to uptake and translocation, and (iii) to develop a set of recommendations regarding the minimization of biomagnification processes and environmental and human health impacts associated with wastewater reuse.  
     
WG3 - Effect-based bioassays required for wastewater reuse scheme
(Leader: Dr. J. Slobodnik, Vice-leader: Dr. N. Kreuzinger)
(i) to identify the potential relationships between the physicochemical characteristics of the wastewater and biological effects, (ii) to determine the most appropriate and relevant bioassays to assess the effects of the reuse practices, and (iii) to propose the harmonization of the procedures used for this purpose.  
     
WG4 - Technologies efficient/economically viable to meet the current wastewater reuse challenges
(Leader: Dr. L. Rizzo, Vice-leader: Dr. S. Malato)
(i) to consolidate knowledge on the fate of microcontaminants during wastewater treatment, (ii) to assess the fate of ARB&ARG during biological processes and characterize their removal mechanisms, (iii) to assess the effect of advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) on ARB&ARG, (iv) to assess the economic feasibility of AOPs compared to conventional processes, and (v) to identify optimum integrated technologies in terms of global efficiency/compliance with standard parameters.  
     
WG5 - Risk assessment and policy development
(Leader: Prof. L. Lundy, Vice-leader: Dr. M. Carere)
(i) to develop quality criteria for selected contaminants of emerging concern and ARB&ARG for wastewater reuse, (ii) to propose a battery of assays for wastewater evaluation for reuse purposes, (iii) to develop a risk assessment framework for wastewater reuse purposes, (iv) to propose guidelines/suggestions on possible technologies able to produce wastewater of quality in compliance to the quality criteria to be set, and (v) to overcome existing barriers in the field of wastewater reuse.  
     

The Action intends to (i) deliver best-practice recommendations for wastewater reuse in irrigation and solid scientific knowledge to decision makers/public, (ii) develop uniform means for assessing wastewater quality with respect to contaminants of emerging concern including ARB&ARG, (iii) establish specifications for technologies able to produce wastewater with minimal levels of such contaminants, and (iv) compile valid and reliable information to be used in regulatory frameworks. 

 Training school

Participants of the NEREUS Training School, June 2016, Barcelona.

The NEREUS COST Action’s participating counties and scientists, objectives, activities, progress, and results are presented on the project website: http://www.nereus-cost.eu 

You can also follow the activities of the NEREUS COST Action on its social media accounts: Twitter , Facebook and LinkedIn.


ECWRTI

"Total Water recyling in water industry"

Funder(s):
  European commision (Horizon 2020 programme - EU.3.5.4, Project reference: 642494)
Timescale: 
  June 2015 - Dec 2018
     

A new technology for the treatment of wastewater from the textile industry, EcoloRO, will be tested at full scale in Belgium from June 2015. The technology uses electrocoagulation combined with membrane filtration. The electrocoagulation stage is able to remove 93 to 96% of the pigments/dyes from wastewater produced by textile mills while the membrane filtration stages (Ultrafiltration/Reverse osmosis) further purify the water for reuse, hence providing an opportunity for textile companies to reduce their fresh water consumption by up to 90%.

For more information on this project, please the project website at visit: http://ecwrti.eu 

 


 DEMOWARE

"Innovation Demonstration for a Competitive and Innovative European Water Reuse Sector"

Funder(s):
  European Commission (Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 619040.)
Timescale: 
  Jan 2014- Dec 2016
     
  The DEMOWARE project had as a primary ambition to deliver a European roadmap for a viable water reuse industry through providing business cases for the development of water recycling projects, which will pave the way for future opportunities. The project brought together 27 institutions from ten different countries together, including public authorities, regulators, water utilities and companies, the research community and the public, to generate and share knowledge on innovative water reuse schemes technologies, not only to increase water use efficiency, but to position Europe ahead of the world market for water reuse. The project was guided by SME & industry priorities and had two central ambitions; to enhance the availability and reliability of innovative water reuse solutions, and to create a unified professional identity for the European Water Reuse sector. The project focused on the specific opportunities and benefits of water reuse in each of the three main water sectors: agriculture, industry and urban as well as on the interfaces between each of these sectors. The project sought to overcome constraints including technological, economic and social barriers.

 

Using nine existing and one greenfield innovation demonstration sites distributed all over Europe and Israel, the project aimed to improve both operator and public confidence in reuse schemes by:

  • deepening the evidence base around innovative treatment processes performance and reuse schemes,
  • testing new tools for process monitoring and performance control,
  • providing strategies for the risk management and quantifying the environmental benefit of water reuse.
  • advancing the quality and usefulness of business models and pricing strategies,
  • generating regulatory regime specific guidance on appropriate governance, public involvement and stakeholder collaboration processes and,
  • the establishment of a European water reuse association to shape market opportunities for European solution providers.

The DEMOWARE outcomes increased Europe’s ability to profit from the resource security and economic benefits of water reuse schemes without compromising human health and environmental integrity.

For more information on the outcomes of the project, you can download the project final summary report and other publically available deliverables athttp://demoware.eu/en/results 


 

Highlighted Research Articles

A selection of recent insights from published research

 

Theme: Public Engagement
Public responses to water reuse - Understanding the evidence (Review)
H.M. Smith, S. Brouwer b, P. Jeffrey and J. Frijns

 

Abstract: Over the years, much research has attempted to unpack what drives public responses to water reuse, using a variety of approaches. A large amount of this work was captured by an initial review that covered research undertaken up to the early 2000s (Hartley, 2006). This paper showcases post-millennium evidence and thinking around public responses to water reuse, and highlights the novel insights and shifts in emphasis that have occurred in the field. Our analysis is structured around four broad, and highly interrelated, strands of thinking: 1) work focused on identifying the range of factors that influence public reactions to the concept of water reuse, and broadly looking for associations between different factors; 2) more specific approaches rooted in the socio-psychological modelling techniques; 3) work with a particular focus on understanding the influences of trust, risk perceptions and affective (emotional) reactions; and 4) work utilising social constructivist perspectives and socio-technical systems theory to frame responses to water reuse. Some of the most significant advancements in thinking in this field stem from the increasingly sophisticated understanding of the 'yuck factor' and the role of such pre-cognitive affective reactions. These are deeply entrenched within individuals, but are also linked with wider societal processes and social representations. Work in this area suggests that responses to reuse are situated within an overall process of technological 'legitimation'. These emerging insights should help stimulate some novel thinking around approaches to public engagement for water reuse.

Source: Journal of Environmental Management
Reference: 2018, vol 207, pages 43-50
Publisher: Elsevier.
For information on access to the full article, please visit the Publisher’s website at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/journal-of-environmental-management 

 

Theme: Technology
Electro-oxidation as efficient pretreatment to minimize the membrane fouling in water reuse processes
Purnell, S., Ebdon, J., Buck, A. Tupper, M., Taylor, H.

 

Abstract: The effluent from a wastewater treatment plant was pretreated with an electrochemical cell using boron doped diamond (BDD) electrodes in order to control the fouling of an ultrafiltration membrane. The results showed that the electrochemical pretreatment decreased 36–67% the transmembrane pressure (TMP), and consequently the membrane fouling, with increasing applied current densities. The removal of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and turbidity by the membrane process was enhanced 40% and 41% respectively using the electro-oxidation pretreatment. The removal of DOC in the pretreatment stage correlated well with the maximum TMP reached. The application of electro-oxidation as a pretreatment stage points out to be a promising alternative to reduce the membrane fouling and increase the water quality for water reuse applications.

Source: Journal of Membrane Science
Reference: 2018, Volume 552, pages 124-131
Publisher: Elsevier
For information on access to the full article, please visit the Publisher’s website at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/journal-of-membrane-science

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Water Reuse Europe has been set up with support from the European Commission through the DEMOWARE research project.