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Ativa-ETE: evaluation of innovative technologies for the removal of nitrogen and micropollutants in wastewater treatment plants (WWTP)

Abstract

Conventional wastewater treatment is insufficient to protect our water bodies from so-called micropollutants (or emerging contaminants), which have adverse effects such as reducing the diversity of bacteria and algae in running waters, modifications in the behavior and morphology of aquatic biota and interference with the hormonal system of wildlife and humans. In addition, due to less restrictive regulations, sewage treated in Brazil has enough nitrogen compounds to cause algae to bloom in dams and lakes, which may make the use of these water resources infeasible for public supply. Therefore, the main challenge of this project will be the implementation of bioreactors in unconventional configurations (continuous fixed bed and fluidized bed reactors, continuous expanded bed or membrane reactors, and discontinuous sequencing batch reactors) for removal of micropollutants and nitrogen to mitigate the environmental impacts caused by these substances. The most important aspect of this project is the combined approach of bioprocess technology and engineering, instrumental analytical chemistry, molecular microbiology and toxicology for the conduction of experimental protocols which will be implemented by a multidisciplinary team with experience in applied research in Environmental Sanitation in Brazil. We propose different innovative possibilities for the removal of micropollutants and nitrogen by using different operational conditions of the bioreactors, allowing us to compare the best conditions by monitoring the emerging compounds and their relationship with the microbiota developed in biofilms, in addition to differential technology for the autotrophic nitrogen removal process. In this context, the areas of expertise related to biological process engineering, taxonomic and functional identification, as well as chemical-analytical and ecotoxicological assessment will be dealt with, to achieve completeness of the results, both scientifically and technologically as to the implementation in wastewater treatment plants (WWTP). (AU)

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