Final report and deliverables


  1. Summary
  2. List of selected deliverables

1. Summary

The practice of adding highly treated wastewater after passage through an environmental buffer to a drinking water supply is referred to as indirect potable reuse (IPR). IPR provides options to maintain sufficient water quantities for communities in the future. However, there is concern regarding potential adverse environmental and human health effects and the application of IPR technologies is still limited by a heightened risk perception and regulatory constraints. The FRAME project defined novel approaches to manage IPR by i) the development of an overarching evaluation scheme for IPR processes including sound analytical and modelling techniques, toxicological assessment and public health-relevant microbiological parameters; ii) design of reliable and cost-effective treatment strategies and novel treatment approaches; iii) providing water utilities as well as regional, national and EU authorities with meaningful and reliable decision support tools for future investments, supporting decisions on how IPR practices can be embedded in the EU legislative framework.

For the application of comprehensive monitoring strategies, analytical methods for a suite of chemical, biological and toxicological parameters have been developed. For the analysis of compounds of emerging concern (CECs) these include several sensitive analytical methods for the determination of up to 272 individual CECs as well as methods for the detection and identification of unknown contaminants. The application of advanced treatment options in a multiple-barrier approach is applied at pilot-scale to test novel and effective treatment options, specifically to improve the removal of CECs, inactivation of pathogens and the removal of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Modelling tools are implemented to describe the fate of CECs and pathogens in different IPR scenarios. The information gained from experiments is made accessible via the Decision Support System (DSS), a software tool which gives stakeholders information on the risks and management of IPR as well as assisting in the estimation of feasibility based on modelling results. The DSS is part of a wider communication strategy, including the FRAME Handbook, to provide guidance for compliance needs as well as prioritization of abatement options.

Results of full-scale monitoring campaigns indicate the benefits of short-term SAT as a cost-effective post-treatment option for a multi-barrier IPR approach. Advanced analytical methodologies allow for testing of IPR processes to go beyond state-of-the-art, ultimately with the goal of decreasing human-health related risks of IPR implementation. Detailed fate studies into CECs during water treatment processes investigated the formation of previously unknown transformation products (TPs). The results indicate the importance of including the assessment of TP formation in an overall evaluation.

The project results will form a basis for the development of assessment strategies for IPR, including multi-residue CEC and non-target analysis methods, bioassays and the analysis of antibiotic resistant bacteria and resistance genes. The developed evaluation strategy will impact future discussions for defining guidelines or regulation for water reuse on a European as well as member-state level and the successful implantation of new treatment solutions to deal with emerging contaminants will spur further technical innovation in the field.

2. List of selected deliverables

The deliverables can be viewed under the following link: Selected deliverables FRAME

These include:

  • 1.1: Sensitive high-throughput multi-methods to quantify indicator CECs
  • 1.2: Methodologies to determine FIBs, pathogens & antibiotic-resistant bacteria/genes
  • 1.3: Non-target analysis for process evaluation
  • 2.1: Provision of a validated sampling and preservation concept to appropriately monitor CECs, TPs and pathogens in indirect potable reuse applications
  • 4.1: Report on the state of the art – IPR
  • 4.2: High level technical guide (assessment and management)
  • 4.5: FRAME Handbook