Advanced Water Treatment

Despite the high treatment efficiency of conventional wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), concern is raised regarding the removal of emerging contaminants including trace organic chemicals at ng/L to µg/L level (e.g. pharmaceuticals, personal care products, industrial chemicals), pathogens (bacteria, viruses, protozoa), antibiotic resistant bacteria and resistance genes and nutrients at low concentration (P, N). Discharge from WWTP poses potential risk to aquatic ecosystems and human health. Objectives of this research group include the the evaluation and optimization of advanced water treatment processes for mitigation of these emerging contaminants. Specific focus lies on oxidative and natural/biological processes as well as the development of multi-barrier concepts.

Oxidative treatment processes provide simultaneous oxidation of chemical contaminants and inactivation of pathogens. Besides established oxidation and advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) like ozonation and UV/H2O2, emerging technologies such as UV/Chlorine, UV/Persulfate and BDD electrodes are investigated. Specific activities include:

• Comparison of process efficiency for oxidation of contaminants
• Evaluation of chemical reactions of ozone and radicals (∙OH, SO4- ∙, Cl ∙) in water and wastewater matrices
• Elucidation of by-product and transformation product formation, toxicity and persistence
• Evaluation of kinetics and mechanisms of pathogen and antibiotic resistant bacteria inactivation and oxidation of resistance genes

Natural and biological treatment processes, such as riverbank filtration, soil-aquifer treatment or biologically-active filters, are used in water treatment for many decades. The work of this research group focuses on transitioning these passive treatment systems into active processes with predictable water quality. Current research activities include:

• Elucidation of key factors for the removal of contaminants of emerging concern (CEC) in natural systems
• Development of novel concepts for enhanced removal of CECs
• Control, monitoring and optimization of biological treatment systems

Multi-barrier treatment concepts. Single processes are not capable of removing all contaminants with different properties. Thus, multi-barrier concepts are needed to provide save water quality especially for potable and non-potable reuse purposes. Specific activities of this research group include:

• Development of hybrid processes involving oxidation, microbial degradation and sorption
• Investigation of fate and transport of chemicals, pathogens and antibiotic resistance in hybrid systems
• Health-based risk assessment of treatment concepts for water recycling

Latest Publications

  • Karakurt, Sema; Schmid, Ludwig; Hübner, Uwe; Drewes, Jörg E.: Dynamics of Wastewater Effluent Contributions in Streams and Impacts on Drinking Water Supply via Riverbank Filtration in Germany—A National Reconnaissance. Environmental Science & Technology 53 (11), 2019, 6154-6161 more…
  • Miklos, D.B.; Wang, W.-L.; Linden, K.G.; Drewes, J.E.; Hübner, U.: Comparison of UV-AOPs (UV/H2O2, UV/PDS and UV/Chlorine) for TOrC removal from municipal wastewater effluent and optical surrogate model evaluation. Chemical Engineering Journal 362, 2019, 537-547 more…
  • Miklos, D.B.; Wang, W.-L.; Linden, K.G.; Drewes, J.E.; Hübner, U.: Comparison of UV-AOPs (UV/H2O2, UV/PDS and UV/Chlorine) for TOrC removal from municipal wastewater effluent and optical surrogate model evaluation. Chemical Engineering Journal 362, 2019, 537-547 more…
  • Hellauer, Karin; Martínez Mayerlen, Sara; Drewes, Jörg E.; Hübner, Uwe: Biotransformation of trace organic chemicals in the presence of highly refractory dissolved organic carbon. Chemosphere 215, 2019, 33-39 more…
  • Hellauer, Karin; Uhl, Jenny; Lucio, Marianna; Schmitt-Kopplin, Philippe; Wibberg, Daniel; Hübner, Uwe; Drewes, Jörg E.: Microbiome-Triggered Transformations of Trace Organic Chemicals in the Presence of Effluent Organic Matter in Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) Systems. Environmental Science & Technology 52 (24), 2018, 14342-14351 more…
  • Miklos, David B.; Remy, Christian; Jekel, Martin; Linden, Karl G.; Drewes, Jörg E.; Hübner, Uwe: Evaluation of advanced oxidation processes for water and wastewater treatment – A critical review. Water Research 139, 2018, 118-131 more…
  • Hellauer, Karin; Karakurt, Sema; Sperlich, Alexander; Burke, Victoria; Massmann, Gudrun; Hübner, Uwe; Drewes, Jörg E.: Establishing sequential managed aquifer recharge technology (SMART) for enhanced removal of trace organic chemicals: Experiences from field studies in Berlin, Germany. Journal of Hydrology 563, 2018, 1161-1168 more…
  • Nihemaiti, Maolida; Miklos, David B.; Hübner, Uwe; Linden, Karl G.; Drewes, Jörg E.; Croué, Jean-Philippe: Removal of trace organic chemicals in wastewater effluent by UV/H2O2 and UV/PDS. Water Research, 2018 more…
  • Miklos, David B.; Hartl, Rebecca; Michel, Philipp; Linden, Karl G.; Drewes, Jörg E.; Hübner, Uwe: UV/H 2 O 2 process stability and pilot-scale validation for trace organic chemical removal from wastewater treatment plant effluents. Water Research 136, 2018, 169-179 more…
  • Drewes, J.E.; Karakurt, S.; Schmid, L.; Bachmaier, M.; Hübner, U.; Clausnitzer, V.; Timmermann, R.; Schätzl, P.; McCurdy, S.: Dynamik der Klarwasseranteile in Oberflächengewässern und mögliche Herausforderung für die Trinkwassergewinnung in Deutschland. , Ed.: Umweltbundesamt: Umweltbundesamt, 2018, more…
  • Muntau, Meriam; Schulz, Manoj; Jewell, Kevin S.; Hermes, Nina; Hübner, Uwe; Ternes, Thomas; Drewes, Jörg E.: Evaluation of the short-term fate and transport of chemicals of emerging concern during soil-aquifer treatment using select transformation products as intrinsic redox-sensitive tracers. Science of The Total Environment 583, 2017, 10 - 18 more…
  • Zucker, I., Mamane, H., Cikurel, H., Jekel, M., Hübner, U., Avisar, D.: A hybrid process of biofiltration of secondary effluent followed by ozonation and short soil aquifer treatment for water reuse. Water Research 84, 2015, 315-322 more…
  • Hübner, U., von Gunten, U., Jekel, M.: Evaluation of the persistence of transformation products from ozonation of trace organic compounds – A critical review. Water Research 68, 2015, 150-170 more…
  • Hübner, U; Zucker, I; Jekel, M: Options and limitations of hydrogen peroxide addition to enhance radical formation during ozonation of secondary effluents. Journal of Water Reuse and Desalination 5 (1), 2015, 8--16 more…
  • Zucker, Ines; Lester, Yaal; Avisar, Dror; Hübner, Uwe; Jekel, Martin; Weinberger, Yigal; Mamane, Hadas: Influence of Wastewater Particles on Ozone Degradation of Trace Organic Contaminants. Environmental Science & Technology 49 (1), 2015, 301-308 more…
  • Hübner, Uwe; Gunten, Urs von; Jekel, Martin: Evaluation of the persistence of transformation products from ozonation of trace organic compounds – A critical review. Water Research 68, 2015, 150 - 170 more…
  • Zucker, I., Lester, Y., Avisar, D., Hübner, U., Jekel, M., Weinberger, Y., Mamane, H.: Influence of Wastewater Particles on Ozone Degradation of Trace Organic Contaminants. Environmental Science & Technology 49 (1), 2015, 301-308 more…
  • Hübner, U.; Seiwert, B.; Reemtsma, T.; Jekel, M.: Ozonation products of carbamazepine and their removal from secondary effluents by soil aquifer treatment – Indications from column experiments. Water Research 49, 2014, 34 - 43 more…
  • Hübner, U.; Keller, S.; Jekel, M.: Evaluation of the prediction of trace organic compound removal during ozonation of secondary effluents using tracer substances and second order rate kinetics. Water Research 47 (17), 2013, 6467 - 6474 more…
  • Hübner, U.; Miehe, U.; Jekel, M.: Optimized removal of dissolved organic carbon and trace organic contaminants during combined ozonation and artificial groundwater recharge. Water Research 46 (18), 2012, 6059 - 6068 more…