REPLAWA

REPLAWA

Reduction of the Input of Plastics via Wastewater into the Aquatic Environment
Description

The REPLAWA project covers questions of water resource protection in connection with wastewater treatment. The project will investigate and quantitatively assess entry points into water bodies through treatment plants, storm water drainage, and combined sewer overflows as well as swales at treatment facilities and in sewage sludge. It will test and rate various practical methods of reducing and eliminating plastic emissions into waterways during wastewater treatment. Based on the results of these investigations and of assessments regarding international regulatory approaches in this field, the project will derive strategies for reducing plastic release from wastewater treatment into waterways. Furthermore the sensitization of policymakers as well as plant operators to this problem is also relevant.

The pollutant in focus of this project is microplastic, which poses the greatest challenges to reach the project’s goals.

The expected results can be of immediate environmental and economic use, as they will spread technical expertise regarding the choice and integration of technologies suitable for retaining plastic in wastewater treatment. Relevant political and administrative decision makers will benefit from the inventory the project inherently provides and from suggested strategy developments of urban water management.

Main areas of work

  • Further development and testing of suitable sampling, preparation and analysis methods for plastic particles in wastewater and sewage sludge
  • Inventory and classification of discharges into water bodies via combined sewer overflows, precipitation water, sewage plant effluents and diffuse sources
  • Inventory and balancing on large-scale wastewater treatment plants
  • Evaluation and further development of various technical solutions for the separation of plastics during wastewater  treatment by means of comparative tests
  • Social science analysis and classification of wastewater-related regulatory proposals and measures worldwide
  • Recommendations for action on strategy development in the field of urban water management and the associated regulation of plastic input

WP 1 Sampling and analysis methods

Contact person
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Matthias Barjenbruch, Technical University of Berlin, Faculty VI - Planning Building Environment, Institute of Civil Engineering, Chair of Urban Water Management, Gustav-Meyer-Allee 25, 13355 Berlin, e-mail: matthias.barjenbruch@tu-berlin.de

Project partner
Emscher Wassertechnik, TU Braunschweig ISWW, Lippeverband

Short description
Definition and application of sampling and analysis methods, comprising i.a. the following tasks:

  • Compilation of requirements for sampling, sample preparation and analysis for microplastic
  • Selection of suitable analytical techniques for the joint research project
  • Establishment of technical and personnel capacities at the Berlin location
  • Definition of sampling and preparation methods for wastewater and sewage sludge
  • Further development, validation of sampling and analysis
  • Development of the methodical procedure for microplastic doping in separation investigations

WP 2 Inventory of entry points for plastics in water bodies

Contact person
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Holger Scheer, Emscher Wassertechnik GmbH, Brunnenstr. 37, 45128 Essen, e-mail: scheer@ewlw.de

Project partner
TU Berlin FG Siwawi, TU Braunschweig ISWW, Lippeverband, Stadtentwässerung Braunschweig GmbH

Short description
Inventory and evaluation of the pathways microplastic takes into water, agriculture and groundwater, which includes the following tasks:

  • data collection, review and selection of appropriate river basin sections, groundwater bodies, and agricultural land
  • definition of a detailed measurement and sampling programme
  • representation and verification of discharges and boundary conditions
  • sampling and analyses
  • supplementary surveys and data evaluation with regard to wastewater input
  • analysis of measured data, quantitative assessment of entry points, evaluation

WP 3 Inventory and balancing on large-scale wastewater treatment plants

Contact person
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Matthias Barjenbruch, Technical University of Berlin, Faculty VI - Planning Building Environment, Institute of Civil Engineering, Chair of Urban Water Management, Gustav-Meyer- Allee 25, 13355 Berlin, e-mail:matthias.barjenbruch@tu-berlin.de

Project partner
Emscher Wassertechnik, TU Braunschweig ISWW, Lippeverband, Stadtentwässerung Braunschweig GmbH

Short description
Investigation, evaluation and optimisation approaches for microplastic retention in largescale wastewater treatment plants with the following individual tasks:

  • Compilation of requirements for wastewater treatment plants with conventional activated sludge process and process with further solids retention
  • Selection and coordination with large-scale plants
  • Detailed recording of plant characteristics and boundary conditions
  • Sampling and analyses
  • Evaluation of measured data, balancing of material flows, evaluation
  • Derivation of further requirements: technical and operational optimisation approaches for large-scale plants and for the semi-technical investigations (WP 4) with regard to the retention of microplastics

WP 4 Semi-technical investigations for the further development of technical solutions for the deposition of plastics

Contact person
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Norbert Dichtl, Technical University of Braunschweig, Institute of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering, Pockelsstraße 2a, 38106 Braunschweig, e-mail: n.dichtl@tu-braunschweig.de

Project partner
Emscher Wassertechnik GmbH, TU Berlin FG Siwawi, Mecana Umwelttechnik GmbH, Nordic Water GmbH, MARTIN Membrane Systems AG, Stadtentwässerung Braunschweig GmbH

Short description
Evaluation and optimisation of the retention performance of microplastics in wastewater treatment plants by investigations on a semitechnical scale for the (downstream) filtration of wastewater and for sewage sludge digestion with doped microplastics. The following steps are carried out for this purpose:

  • selection of plant technology for separation processes using membrane, cloth filter and sand filter
  • setting up the test and measurement programme
  • construction of semi-technical test facilities for comparative investigations at the Braunschweig site
  • execution of the experimental operation, sampling and analyses
  • technical and operational optimisation of the plants with regard to the retention of microplastics
  • final evaluation and assessment of measurement data and plant operation

WP 5 Social science analysis of regulatory projects and measures worldwide

Contact person
Univ.-Prof. Dr. phil. habil. Anja P. Jakobi, Technical University of Braunschweig, Institute of Social Sciences, Chair of International Relations, Bienroder Weg 97, 38106 Braunschweig, e-mail: a.jakobi@tu-braunschweig.de

Project partner
Emscher Wassertechnik GmbH

Short description
Compilation of international regulatory concepts on microplastics in wastewater, with analysis of stakeholder interests, evaluation of political measures with regard to problem solving and compilation of political options for action in the field of urban water management.

  • Interviews with national, European and global actors
  • Networking with the other key actors of the research focus
  • Analysis of stakeholder interests (state, private) and their effects on regulation (descriptive and causal)
  • Causal analysis of regulatory results (qualitative and – depending on data quality – statistical)
  • Evaluation of policy measures with regard to problem-solving

WP 6 Recommendations for action on strategy development in the field of urban water management

Contact person
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Holger Scheer, Emscher Wassertechnik GmbH, Brunnenstraße 37, 45128 Essen, e-mail: scheer@ewlw.de

Project partner
TU Berlin FG Siwawi, TU Braunschweig ISWW, TU Braunschweig IB-ISW, Mecana Umwelttechnik GmbH, Nordic Water GmbH, MARTIN Membrane Systems AG, Lippeverband, Stadtentwässerung Braunschweig GmbH

Short description
Elaboration of recommendations for strategy development regarding the evaluation and reduction of the input of microplastics via wastewater into the natural environment, including the classification of regulatory approaches:

  • Recommendations for action on water discharges, rainwater treatment, and agricultural utilisation
  • Description of technical possibilities for elimination and reduction in wastewater treatment plants, upgrading of wastewater treatment plants
  • Upscaling of the results for different wastewater treatment plant size classes
  • To show how regulatory approaches and changes can be initiated or influenced
  • Development of further recommendations for action and information on the overall strategy development, including the results of the social science analyses

WP 7 Coordination of the joint research project

Contact person
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Holger Scheer, Emscher Wassertechnik GmbH, Brunnenstraße 37, 45128 Essen, e-mail: scheer@ewlw.de

Project partner
TU Berlin FG Siwawi, TU Braunschweig ISWW, TU Braunschweig IB-ISW, Mecana Umwelttechnik GmbH, Nordic Water GmbH, MARTIN Membrane Systems AG, Lippeverband, Stadtentwässerung Braunschweig GmbH

Short description
Technical and organisational coordination of the joint research project regarding result determination and support in disseminating findings. Among other things, the following steps are carried out for this purpose:

  • Technical coordination of cross-cutting topics
  • Coordination with the accompanying project
  • Organisation of project meetings and workshops overarching the research network
  • Creation and implementation of a communication concept
  • Support for the dissemination of results
  • Tracking of time and work planning
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