Eco-engineering for Advanced Treatment of WWTP Effluent (ECOTREAT)

Effluent discharged by wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) can cause adverse effects in receiving surface waters due to elevated levels of nutrients and micropollutants (e.g. pharmaceuticals or personal care products).

The ECOTREAT project aims at the application and combination of eco-engineering systems for advanced treatment of wastewater effluent focusing on the reduction of micropollutants.

Natural treatment systems (e.g. different wetland types, artificial meanders, cascading ponds or floating islands) could be a cost-efficient alternative to technologies such as oxidation or adsorption. Promising studies demonstrate that constructed wetlands, which have been applied for many years to treat primary wastewater at locations that are not connected to a sewer system, are also capable to reduce the concentration of pharmaceuticals, personal care products and pesticides in WWTP effluent. Additional benefits of eco-engineering systems include further nutrient reduction, ecological benefits (treatment systems as habitats and breeding grounds) as well as beneficial social aspects (e.g. increased public acceptance and potential recreational use of natural treatment systems).

The goals of ECOTREAT 1 are:

  • Compilation of available knowledge on eco-engineering solutions suitable for advanced treatment of WWTP discharge, including extensive literature research and consultations with experts in this field (e.g. ELAN-project [BMBF], p2m berlin, VERI [Veolia])

  • Identification of knowledge gaps and development of strategy for filling gaps (e.g. design of experimental test program, monitoring of existing systems, identification of strategic partners and pilot sites), consideration of additional benefits (e.g. ecological and social aspects)

  • Preparation of proposal for ECOTREAT 2

  • Check possibility for application of external funding


Selected publications produced in the ECOTREAT project are available here.


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