In Germany the technical standard and capability of sewage water treatment plants is very high. Nevertheless, several organic micropollutants like pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, germs and viruses are eliminated only to a limited extend.
In this context the research project, funded by the MKULNV, is dealing with developing a well-founded and comparable cost-benefit analysis based on operating data of municipal and industrial waste water treatment plants (WWTP) in pilot and full scale. The investigations are directed to determine the economic benefits of retrofitting WWTPs for improving the elimination of organic micropollutants. Based on the example of the river Ruhr, a sound basis for decisions on preventive protection of drinking water and water bodies in NRW will be generated.
In doing so, the evaluation of benefits include positive and negative effects of cleaning processes which are based either on an optimization of established technologies or the development of innovative treatment procedures. The results of the individual projects of the research topic "elimination of pharmaceuticals and organic micropollutants" are included in the evaluation. Based on the multi barrier principle measures at the source are also taken into account as those at the sewage and drinking water treatment. The approach of evaluating should be generally applicable, so that also for other catchment areas with similar waters use structures an estimation of the economic benefit of upgrading municipal WWTPs can take place.