A story of water treatment

Christmas time: Felix bakes Christmas biscuits – without nasty trace substances!

Donau Chemie Water Technology
Felix and his mother are preparing Christmas biscuits.

Look, Mama, I've made an aeroplane out of biscuits. It's a cool thing to do, because I would like to be a pilot. And now it has already disappeared again.
Please try not to eat all the biscuits, we still may need a few more.

Ah! Papa's coming home. Hi, Papa, we're baking Christmas biscuits.
I already recognized it with my nose when I entered.

Look Papa, I've put together a sewage treatment plant for you made of biscuits. The chocolate sauce is the Aquaclear with the activated carbon, which makes the nasty mini-pollutants get out of the water.
You mean the micropollutants or trace substances. That's right, the activated carbon gives the coagulant a black appearance.

But therefore, it can also remove much more from the water: phosphorus and micropollutants, as you said.
Yes, exactly, this topic will indeed gain in importance over the next few years. Thirty years ago, the legislation that made the use of coagulants mandatory was adopted: the EU's Urban Wastewater Directive and its national implementation in the Water Acts in Austria and other member states. Our water bodies have been polluted much less from that time on as a result of the excellent work done by the wastewater treatment plants. But now there are new challenges that have to be addressed, which were not even on anyone's mind back then.

Such as what?
The issue of micropollutants. New investigations and analytical methods show that such substances are released into the wastewater by each of us. Even if their concentration is very low, they can lead to various problems in the river or drinking water subsequently.

What kind of substances are that?
Painkillers, for example, and other important pharmaceuticals, ingredients of cosmetic products. They have to be removed from the water to prevent harm at a later stage. This is already practiced in Switzerland and the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg. Now, a draft of the revised EU Wastewater Directive also proposes that, from 2030, wastewater treatment plants should implement this elimination of micropollutants, depending on the size of the plants.

In this case, you can immediately help the wastewater treatment plants with your Donau PAC Aquaclear.
Exactly, and also with powder and granulated activated carbon provided by Donau Carbon. We and our colleagues at Donau Carbon have been working on this in cooperation with universities for some time and so we know that it works perfectly.

Great, and why also phosphorous? Phosphorus has been removed from wastewater for at least 30 years!
In the old directive, phosphate precipitation is actually only required in sensitive areas, whereby each country could determine its own.

How can areas be sensitive?
Sensitive to nutrient loads, i.e. phosphorus and nitrogen. This can lead to overfertilization of water bodies. In technical language, this is called eutrophication. Organisms like algae are very excited about this and grow like crazy. At the same time, however, they also consume oxygen, which other organisms, such as fish, do not appreciate very much.

Without oxygen they can't survive at all!
Indeed, it is. Therefore, nutrient removal is a necessity. In Austria, phosphate precipitation is mandatory even for all sewage treatment plants above a certain size, because the whole country has declared itself a sensitive zone. Elsewhere, this is not yet the case.

Therefore, according to the current proposal, all large wastewater treatment plants (100,000 PE or more), regardless of the area, and all wastewater treatment plants of 10,000 PE or more in sensitive areas will be required to remove phosphorus down to a limit of 0.5 mg/l in the future.

This is to be introduced gradually from 2030. In other words, much stricter standards, because up to now the threshold limits have been 2 resp. 1 mg/l of phosphorus. And there will be more sensitive areas: for example, the entire catchment area of the Black Sea and thus also the Danube region or parts of the Adriatic Sea and its catchment areas.

That will be a lot of work for the sewage treatment plants and also for you!
Donau Chemie Water Technology


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