Interdisciplinary concepts for municipal wastewater treatment and resource recovery. Tackling future challenges

TreatRec consortium is composed by 2 academic partners – the Catalan Institute for Water Research, ICRA, and LEQUIA research group of University of Girona ( – and two non-academic – enterprises ATKINS (UK) and AQUAFIN (Belgium). Waterboard de Dommel, University of Bath, Severn Trent Water and The Bavarian Research Alliance also participate in the project. Following an integrated approach that takes into account industrial, academic and societal needs, the project aims at producinga set of recommendations on upgrading wastewater treatment plants for future challenges such as microcontaminants removal and nutrient recovery.

In order to achieve this ambitious goal, the following 5 PhD research projects will be carried out:

  •  PhD project 1. Tackling emerging compounds in WWTP’s. Host: AQUAFIN, Thesis supervised by AQUAFIN, UdG and ICRA
  • PhD project 2. Transformation of microcontaminants in wastewater treatment. Host: ICRA; Thesis supervised by ICRA, ATKINS and AQUAFIN
  • PhD project 3. Optimal configuration of nitrogen and phosphorous recovery schemes within WWTPs. Host: UdG; Thesis supervised by UdG and AQUAFIN.
  • PhD project 4. The resilience of wastewater treatment to multiple stress conditions. Host: ATKINS; Thesis supervised by ATKINS and ICRA.
  • PhD project 5. Assessment of environmental and socio-economical implications of urban wastewater treatment. Host: ICRA; Thesis supervised by ICRA, AQUAFIN, and UdG.

The research programme has been built around 5 technological gaps and knowledge needs: 1) improving efficiency of wastewater treatment regarding micropollutants removal; 2) improving understanding of transformation processes affecting emerging microcontaminants; 3) improving the effectiveness of the systems, including recovery of energy and recovery of nutrients from wastewater; 4) global change and resilience of wastewater treatment in stress conditions; and 5) improving and facilitating decision support tools for decision makers. The 5 engaged researchers will share perspectives, terminology and working methods, making sure that there is close integration of all these aspects in a single coordinated programme. All of them will follow the Doctoral Programme in Water Science and Technology of the University of Girona

European Commission

Duration:36 months
Total budget:
LEQUIA grant:247.873 Euros
Program:H2020 – MSCA – ITN – 2014
Reference:GA 642904