Spoilt for choice: A critical review on the chemical and biological assessment of current wastewater treatment technologies.


The knowledge we have gained in recent years on the presence and effects of compounds discharged by wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) brings us to a point where we must question the appropriateness of current water quality evaluation methodologies. An increasing number of anthropogenic chemicals is detected in treated wastewater and there is increasing evidence of adverse environmental effects related to WWTP discharges. It has thus become clear that new strategies are needed to assess overall quality of conventional and advanced treated wastewaters. There is an urgent need for multidisciplinary approaches combining expertise from engineering, analytical and environmental chemistry, (eco)toxicology, and microbiology. This review summarizes the current approaches used to assess treated wastewater quality from the chemical and ecotoxicological perspective. Discussed chemical approaches include target, non-target and suspect analysis, sum parameters, identification and monitoring of transformation products, computational modeling as well as effect directed analysis and toxicity identification evaluation. The discussed ecotoxicological methodologies encompass in vitro testing (cytotoxicity, genotoxicity, mutagenicity, endocrine disruption, adaptive stress response activation, toxicogenomics) and in vivo tests (single and multi species, biomonitoring). We critically discuss the benefits and limitations of the different methodologies reviewed. Additionally, we provide an overview of the current state of research regarding the chemical and ecotoxicological evaluation of conventional as well as the most widely used advanced wastewater treatment technologies, i.e., ozonation, advanced oxidation processes, chlorination, activated carbon, and membrane filtration. In particular, possible directions for future research activities in this area are provided.

DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2015.09.023
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@article{Prasse2015SpoiltFC, title={Spoilt for choice: A critical review on the chemical and biological assessment of current wastewater treatment technologies.}, author={Carsten Prasse and Daniel Stalter and Ulrike Schulte-Oehlmann and J{\"{o}rg Oehlmann and Thomas A Ternes}, journal={Water research}, year={2015}, volume={87}, pages={237-70} }