Process and Systems Engineering Center (PROSYS), Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Building 229, 2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark. Electronic address: [Email]
Novel wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are expected to be less energetically demanding than conventional ones. However, scarce information is available about the fate of organic micropollutants (OMPs) in these novel configurations. Therefore, the objective of this work is to assess the fate of OMPs in three novel WWTP configurations by using a plant-wide simulation that integrates multiple units. The difference among the three configurations is the organic carbon preconcentration technology: chemically enhanced primary treatment (CEPT), high-rate activated sludge (HRAS) combined or not with a rotating belt filter (RBF); followed by a partial-nitritation (PN-AMX) unit. The simulation results show that the three selected novel configurations lead mainly to comparable OMPs removal efficiencies from wastewater, which were similar or lower, depending on the OMP, than those obtained in conventional WWTPs. However, the presence of hydrophobic OMPs in the digested sludge noticeably differs among the three configurations. Whereas the configuration based on sole HRAS to recover organic carbon leads to a lower presence of OMPs in digested sludge than the conventional WWTP, in the other two novel configurations this presence is noticeable higher. In conclusion, novel WWTP configurations do not improve the OMPs elimination from wastewater achieved in conventional ones, but the HRAS-based WWTP configuration leads to the lowest presence in digested sludge so it becomes the most efficient alternative.