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


01/12/2022 - 30/11/2024

Control of water quality risks in planned and de facto potable reuse

The European Union is addressing water quality concerns related to this important opportunity to improve our portfolio of water management options. Planned potable water reuse is a sustainable and economical alternative to seawater desalination and long-distance water transport. Ensuring the security of water supply is closely linked with economic prosperity, energy and food security, and industrial productivity and employment. In cities, water supply security is required to promote blue-green, livable and competitive cities.

ReclaimONEwater brings together an interdisciplinary team of engineers, chemists and microbiologists who will be responsible for evaluating the de facto and planned reuse of drinking water:

(i) assess the risks to water quality caused by chemical and biological contaminants of emerging concern (CBE), including disinfection byproducts and antibiotic resistance genes. This will be achieved by sampling large-scale drinking water treatment plants affected by wastewater treatment plant effluents and a pilot-scale trial for potable water reuse. This new knowledge will protect consumers from health threats in de facto and planned reuse of drinking water;

(ii) develop and demonstrate at pilot scale new monitoring methods that support safe operation. These methods will monitor along the successive treatment barriers indigenous chemical and viral surrogates of the treated effluents, such as natural virus NV2247 and dissolved organic matter. Efficient monitoring of actual removal values ​​for viruses in reverse osmosis and other processes will increase water safety and avoid excessive and unsustainable treatment strategies;

(iii) validate at laboratory scale and in a globally unique pilot plant a new process of advanced oxidation (POA) based on vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) radiation. ReclaimONEwater will evaluate process performance and validate process design adapted to low VUV transmission. POA-VUV will potentially be validated as an effective treatment barrier for CBEs, particularly suitable for indoor situations, where brine generation restricts the application of separation processes;

(iv) reclaimONEwater will effectively communicate to general, professional and scientific communities nationally and internationally using various channels, such as social media, webinars and a workshop, in addition to the standard dissemination of results in scientific manuscripts and conferences in the academic field. To increase and accelerate impact, reclaimONEwater will also explore opportunities for commercialization, specifically of the different monitoring approaches developed in the project.

To enable the reuse of drinking water, reclaimONEwater contributes significantly to achieving several objectives of the Green Transition: (i) adaptation to climate change; (ii) sustainable use and protection of water resources; (iii) transition to a circular economy; i (iv) prevention and control of environmental pollution.




Gernjak, Wolfgang; Farré Olalla, Maria José; Insa Aguilar, Sara; Borrego Moré, Carles; Sánchez Melsió, Alex; Klamerth, Nikolaus; Lock Feixas, Tomás


Gernjak, Wolfgang