Removal of Micropollutants – A Pioneering Initiative

Submitted by Lehmann Claudio (Product Development - WABAG Switzerland)

Micropollutants – tiny causes, huge effects.

Micropollutants are substances that occur in very low concentrations (ng/l to μg/l) in water. These micropollutants are mostly not new, but their existence could only first be proven with the availability of steadily more effective analytical methodology. They include a wide range of substances of mainly anthropogenic origin and can be found in both surface and underground water reserves. Although micropollutants occur in miniscule concentrations, they can destabilize organisms and entire eco-systems. One known example is provided by fish, in which hormone-active (endocrine) substances can lead to chaos in the hormone household and thus result in the feminization of the males in the species.

Many European countries are already discussing, or have statutes regarding the elimination of micropollutants in treated wastewater with the aim of safeguarding both aquatic eco-systems and drinking water resources.

State of the art mechanical/biological sewage treatment plants are insufficient to remove those substances. Proven technologies are already available that can be used to great effect in this area. These consist of oxidative, adsorptive and physical processes, and their combination. WABAG possesses expertise in all of these areas and uses those technologies in potable water plants for many decades already.

For more than a decade, WABAG has been involved or led numerous R&D projects aimed at the development and adaption of technologies for the elimination of micropollutants. As a result, WABAG is one of the few companies able to offer all the relevant technologies such as ozonation and activated carbon adsorption, as well as their combination. By May 2019 WABAG has in execution or operation 16 plants for this purpose.

WABAG Technologies

Advanced processes for the elimination of micropollutants consist primarily of oxidation, activated carbon adsorption and innovative filtration technologies. They are now ready for use in adapted form in wastewater treatment.

All WABAG technologies fulfil every plant requirement with regard to the removal of micropollutants:

• Extensive broadband effect
• High micropollutants elimination efficiency
• The avoidance of problematic by-products and large quantities of residuals
• Smooth integration into existing process chains
• Straightforward operational management

WABAG has won/executed 16 projects by May 2019 and at least one full-scale plant with the following technologies:

  • PACPUR-SF®: PAC + Filtration, PAC + Sedimentation + Filtration
  • BIOZONE®: Ozonation + Filtration
  • BIOZONE-PACOPUR®: Ozonation + PAC + Filtration
  • BIOZONE-CARBOPUR®: Ozonation + GAC-Filtration


BIOZONE® plant in Reinach, Switzerland

PACOPUR® plant in Thun, Switzerland

BIOZONE-CARBOPUR® plant in Altenrhein, Switzerland

All of these processes are suitable for both, new treatment plants, or the later extension of existing treatment plants. Some of the plants are in operation, the first one since 2013. Most of them are in execution.

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The WABAG Group head quartered in Chennai with its global presence in 4 Continents and more than 20 countries has a work-force of more than 2,000. With a history dating back more than ninety years, the group has emerged as a leading pure play water technology player across the globe with focus on emerging markets.

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