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Microplastics at Wastewater Treatment Plants

The Microplast project will focus on the development of a standardized methodology to detect microplastics at wastewater treatment plants (© Aimplas)

Aimplas, the Plastics Technology Centre, Valencia, Spain, is leading the Microplast project, with the participation of Aguas de Valencia and the Universitat de Valà¨ncia. This project aims to remove microplastics from both urban and industrial wastewater, and is funded by the Valencian Innovation Agency (AVI). It will also develop a standardized methodology to obtain homogeneous data on the presence of these particles in different wastewater sources.

The project will respond to growing concern about the existence of plastic particles measuring less than 5 mm (known as microplastics) in the environment. â??This concern has given rise to studies on these particles, but different conclusions have been reached and no evidence has been uncovered yet about the risks to human health or the environment,â? said lead researcher Elena Domà­nguez, from Aimplas.

The Goal of the Project

The goal of the Microplast project is to anticipate legislation on these particles that may be passed in the near future. Its objective is therefore twofold: first, to develop a standardized methodology to quantify the presence of microplastics in wastewater and sludge at urban treatment plants and in industrial water at recycling pilot plants. This will help shed light on the current situation and make it possible to assess the efficiency of different filtering methods. The second objective is to develop two different technologies for pilot-plant treatment, one using sand and carbon filters, and the other membrane reactors.

Aimplas is involved in this project and carries out research on this topic to fulfil its commitment to environmental sustainability. As a result, companies in the sector will be able to integrate circular economy criteria into their business models and turn the legislative changes affecting them into opportunities to improve efficiency and profitability and reduce their environmental impact. Aimplas also does research in areas such as recycling, biodegradable materials and products, and the use of biomass and CO2.

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