Combination of ultrafiltration (UF) and powdered activated carbon (PAC) to remove micropollutants, antibiotic resistant bacteria and phosphorus from wastewater

M. Werner*, MICRODYN-NADIR GmbH, Germany

Nowadays the high usage of pharmaceuticals like antibiotics, analgesics or X-ray contrast agents for human and veterinary treatment leads to increasing concentrations in municipal wastewater and in the aquatic environment.

Apart from micropollutants, the global concern regarding the threat of antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARB) in the environment is growing. Due to a 40 % increase in global consumption of antibiotics over the last decade, combating antibiotic resistances represents a complex challenge.

Municipal and industrial wastewater, which is collected and treated in wastewater treatment plants, harbours various bacteria from environmental, human and animal origins. During the biological treatment process, a removal of micropollutants (up to 50 %) and ARB (up to 2-3 log levels) takes place. [3, 4] Despite the mentioned removal capability of conventional wastewater treatment plants, a significant amount of such substances still enters the aquatic environment by discharging treated wastewater into surface water bodies. Therefore, wastewater treatment plants play a major role regarding the removal, separation and distribution of micropollutants and ARB into receiving waterbodies.

To optimize wastewater treatment plants for the removal of micropollutants (>80 %), additional treatment processes (so called fourth treatment steps) have been implemented in several plants in Central Europe. [5, 6, 7] With currently established treatment technologies like Ozonation with subsequent sand filtration, granulated activated carbon filtration and powdered activated carbon filtration followed by sand filtration, an efficient reduction of micropollutants can be achieved. [5, 8, 9] Nevertheless, a complete separation of ARB cannot be guaranteed with these technologies.

This is where the “BIO-CEL® Activated Carbon process”, a combination of Powdered Activated Carbon (PAC) usage with submerged ultrafiltration membrane technology, developed by MICRODYN-NADIR steps in. This hybrid process takes advantage of established methods (adsorption and filtration) and provides an option to meet higher effluent requirements of treatment plants e.g. the complete separation of bacteria and germs.

Pilot plants with the BIO-CEL Activated Carbon process have been operational in North Rhine Westphalia and Hesse, Germany since 2016. An important partner is the Emschergenossenschaft and Lippeverband (EGLV), the largest wastewater management company and operator of wastewater treatment plants in Germany, which provided sites for pilot testing.

The BIO-CEL Activated Carbon process is...

Session: M6 - Short Oral Presentations
Day: 23 October 2019
Time: 14:45 - 16:00 h

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