Potential of decentralized wastewater treatment for preventing the spread of antibiotic resistance, organic micropollutants, pathogens and viruses

New approaches are needed to reduce the emission of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs). Some sources contribute strongly to such emissions, which has driven the focus of PRESAGE on innovative decentralized wastewater treatment (WWT), based on anaerobic and aerobic compact systems.

An integrated analysis of the behaviour of organic micropollutants (OMPs), antibiotic resistant microorganisms and genes (ARMs/ARGs) and pathogens (viruses and bacteria) will be carried out. This will allow better understanding the relation between the operational parameters of reactors, the microbiological evolution in the system, the removal of OMPs and pathogens, and the development of ARMs and ARGs. The contribution of such a complex mixture on the final effluent ecotoxicity will be assessed.

The technologies will be validated at 4 demo sites treating black and grey water, and effluents from hospitals and an antibiotic industry, in close collaboration with the industrial sector. This high readiness level anticipates a good impact of project results on wastewater innovation.

Experts in the field of advanced WWT, microbiology and ecotoxicology will strongly cooperate and participate in a mobility plan focusing on complementary skills. PRESAGE impacts society and economy, boosting the water industry and protecting the environment from effluent discharges containing CECs. In the proposed treatment strategy, a minimum global impact is targeted, preferentially promoting the onsite water reuse.



Wastewater treatment, Emerging Pollutants, Pathogens, Antimicrobial Resistance, Aquatic Ecosystems

Achievements so far

Significant achievements have been made in the PRESAGE project to date. Prototypes have been developed using anaerobic, anoxic and aerobic hybrid biological treatments with different reactor configurations such as membrane bioreactors, fixed and moving bed biofilms, plug flow and stirred reactors. In addition, a prototype for sustainable water disinfection using the antimicrobial activity of functionalised particles carrying a biocide has been established. The project has also adapted standardised operational procedures for monitoring organic micropollutants (OMPs), antibiotic resistant microorganisms and genes (ARMs/ARGs) and pathogens to the water and sludge matrices generated by the project. In addition, the project has carried out the first standardised ecotoxicity tests on wastewater containing contaminants of emerging concern (CECs). These achievements represent significant progress in improving wastewater treatment technologies and addressing the environmental impact of emerging contaminants.

If you're interested in scientific publications associated with PRESAGE, click here


Project Coordinator:
Prof. Francisco Omil,
University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain


Communication & Dissemination Contact:
Sonia Suarez


Partner Institutions:
University of São Paulo – Brazil

Technical University of Denmark – Denmark

University of Porto – Portugal

CNRS/Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse (INP Toulouse), Ecole Nationale Supérieure Agronomique de Toulouse – France

TU Dresden – Germany