Pathogen removal in managed aquifer recharge (MAR) systems is dependent upon numerous operational, physicochemical water quality, and biological parameters. Due to the site-specific conditions affecting these parameters, guidelines for specifying pathogen removal have historically taken rather precautionary and conservative approaches in order to protect groundwater quality and public health. A literature review of regulated pathogens in MAR applications was conducted and compared to up-and-coming indicators and surrogates for pathogen assessment, all of which can be gathered into a toolbox from which regulators and operators alike can select appropriate pathogens for monitoring and optimization of MAR practices. Combined with improved knowledge of pathogen fate and transport obtained through lab- and pilot-scale studies and supported by modeling, this foundation can be used to select appropriate, site-specific pathogens for regarding a more efficient pathogen retention, ultimately protecting public health and reducing costs. This paper outlines a new 10 step-wise workflow for moving towards determining robust removal credits for pathogens based on risk management principles. This approach is tailored to local conditions while reducing overly conservative regulatory restrictions or insufficient safety contingencies. The workflow is intended to help enable the full potential of MAR as more planned water reuse systems are implemented in the coming years.


Zhiteneva, V. (2023): Der teilgeschlossene Wasserkreislauf Berlins.

ÖWAV/TU Wien: Wiederverwendung von gereinigtem Abwasser, 21.-22. Februar 2023.

Zhiteneva, V. , Mosher, J. , Gerba, C. P. , Rauch-Willliams, T. , Drewes, J. E. (2023): Improving Implementation of Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) Systems by Utilizing Updated Pathogen Removal Knowledge.

13th IWA International Conference on Water Reclamation and Reuse. Chennai, India 15-19 January 2023


Die Simulationsergebnisse mit SIMBA# zeigten, dass mit den neu entwickelten ammoniumbasierten Regelungen und dem Air-Cycling-Konzept für MBR die Belüftung bzw. den Energieverbrauch deutlich reduziert werden konnte.An der Pilotanlage wurde demonstriert, dass mit den optimierten MSR-Konzepten stabile Ablaufwerte von CSB und Stickstoff erzielt werden können, welche mit großen Energieeinsparungen verbunden sind. Getestet wurden die ammoniumbasierten Regelungen und das Air-Cycling. Aber auch angepasste alternative MSR-Konzepte zur Optimierung der Schlammrezirkulation auf Basis der Nitratkonzentration im Ablauf und der Redoxpotential-basierten Regelung für die Belüftung der Nitrifikation wurden optimiert und getestet. Auch hier konnten sehr gute Ablaufergebnisse erzielt werden in Verbindung mit Energieeinsparungen. Allerdings wurde auch festgestellt, dass die verwendete ionenselektive Elektrode für die kontinuierliche Messung von Ammonium im Ablauf im niedrigen Messbereich (1-2 mg/L NH4-N) keine zuverlässigen Daten für eine Steuerung liefern kann.Im Rahmen des Projektes wurde auch ein neues Vorhersagemodell für Membranfouling entwickelt, um das Fouling 7 bis 14 Tage im Voraus zuverlässig vorherzusagen. Das Modell wurde dabei sowohl mit den historischen Betriebsdaten validiert und auch in der Praxis an der Pilotanlage getestet und bestätigt. Zusätzlich wurde ein Entscheidungsunterstützungs-system erarbeitet, welche die Fehlersuche und Wartung deutlich erleichtert.


This report covers the results of the Clear Waters from Pharmaceuticals 2 (CWPharma 21) project continuing the work of the original CWPharma2 project which concluded in December 2020. Both projects were funded by the EU’s Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme. CWPharma evaluated occurrence and routes of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) in the water cycle and provided recommendations on technical and non-technical measures to reduce API loads entering the Baltic Sea. Recommendations for technical measures were published in the CWPharma ‘Guidelines for advanced API removal processes’ (Stapf et al., 2020), which also includes a modular approach to their successful implementation. The individual modules are: 1) WWTP fitness check, 2) feasibility study, 3) detailed planning, and 4) optimization of existing systems.

Within CWPharma 2, project partners from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, and Poland continued the work of reducing API loads from the aforementioned countries into the Baltic Sea. The focus was to help wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) operators interested in reducing their API discharges to practically implement the four different modules of the guideline. This report summarizes the results of the first module ‘WWTP fitness check’ that have been carried out for about 80 WWTPs from eight Baltic Sea countries and aggregates the anonymized data from the WWTPs to present an overview of general as well as country-specific results, trends and considerations.


Elevated levels of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) have been detected in the Baltic Sea for many years. These APIs are often discharged from hospitals, households, pharmaceutical manufacturing plants, and animal farms, among other sources. As APIs are not completely degraded in municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTP), they are then transported to the Baltic Sea. Although research on the effects of APIs in the Baltic Sea has been ongoing, the consequences of API discharges on the environment, in terms of potentially risky ecological effects, have not yet been fully evaluated. The European Union’s Interreg Baltic Sea Region programme funded the Clear Waters from Pharmaceuticals (CWPharma) project, which quantified API loading into the Baltic Sea from six river basin districts. Seven Baltic Sea Region (BSR) countries were involved as CWPharma partners (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Poland and Sweden). Surface water, soil, and sediment samples were collected from coastal, rural, and agricultural locations and analysed for up to 80 APIs. By comparing the API concentrations detected in rivers with predicted no-effect levels (PNEC), the environmental risk of individual APIs was quantified. A GIS-based model was developed which allowed illustration and assessment of API loads into the Baltic Sea coming from the project partner countries, as well as evaluation of the impacts of various emission reduction scenarios. Different types of emission reduction measures were proposed. Reductions of API emission from WWTPs through the application of advanced wastewater treatment (AWT) technologies were experimentally validated at full- and pilot-scale. AWT technologies tested in CWPharma included full-scale ozonation and various post-treatment technologies, such as moving bed bioreactors, constructed wetlands, deep bed filters using sand/anthracite, and granular activated carbon. Additionally, 21 recommendations for other reduction measures focused on improving collection and disposal of unused pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical waste, targeting various groups and emitters, were also developed. By simulating the variety of API reduction methods within the API loading model, the most effective measures for reducing API emissions could be determined. Similarly, both the costs and global warming potential of upgrading various classes of WWTPs with AWT in the form of ozonation or activated carbon were calculated for each CWPharma project partner country. This report summarizes the most important recommendations elicited from the CWPharma project.

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