Catalan Water Research Institute research and innovation for the sustainable use of water


01/09/2021 - 31/08/2024

Integrating nature-based water ReUse strategies with advanced Monitoring of the Presence and impact of MicroPollutants and MicroPlastics

In 2020, the Council of the European Union proposed a new regulation to reduce the risks related to water scarcity, to increase its availability and encourage its reuse in agriculture in an efficient way (EU 2020/741). Decentralized systems, with separation at the source and subsequent reuse of the water, make it possible to supply regenerated water close to the point where the waste water itself is produced. In this context, nature-based solutions (NBS) allow wastewater to be treated in a decentralized manner and, at the same time, can help protect and restore natural, modified and urbanized ecosystems , as well as providing other co-benefits and addressing social challenges. On the other hand, the production of food grown with regenerated water allows the recovery of nutrients and promotes the circular economy. Thus, source separation of greywater and its treatment or reuse through decentralized NBS (eg, constructed wetlands and urban gardens) are postulated as a very sustainable option. However, there is still little information on gray water compared to other types of wastewater and, on the other hand, the presence of organic micropollutants in the water cycle (including gray water and wastewater ) is cause for concern for its possible environmental toxicity, even at low concentrations. Among these compounds, microplastics are also pollutants of emerging concern not only for environmental health but also for human health. In this context, the ReUseMP3 project aims to explore the feasibility of using NBS, such as hydroponic systems, to treat different types of waste and gray water and reuse them to produce food in cities in a way more sustainable In the ReUseMP3 project, a wide variety of analytical methodologies will be applied, including target analyzes of already known emerging contaminants, but also non-target analyzes of suspected and unknown contaminants to provide a better overview of the presence and removal of contaminants emerging throughout the water reuse cycle. Microplastics and their additives will also be investigated in laboratory-scale experiments under controlled conditions with real wastewater and greywater, as well as in field studies under real operating conditions. The data generated during the project will feed, on the one hand, a comprehensive assessment of the risk of the presence of pollutants throughout the water cycle, from the sources of pollution to its possible impact on the environment or by the human health; and, on the other hand, they will allow the development of innovative tools to aid in decision-making for water management.