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Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering >> 2008, Volume 2, Issue 4 doi: 10.1007/s11783-008-0073-1

Increasing significance of advanced physical/chemical processes in the development and application of sustainable wastewater treatment systems

Sub-department of Environmental Technology, Wageningen University

Available online: 2008-12-05

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The awareness of the problem of the scarcity of water of high quality has strongly changed the approach of wastewater treatment. Currently, there is an increasing need for the beneficial reuse of treated wastewater and to recover valuable products and energy from the wastewater. Because microbiological treatment methods are, only to a limited part, able to satisfy these needs, the role and significance of physical/chemical processes in wastewater treatment are gaining more and more interest. The specific future role and aim of the various physical/chemical treatment processes can be categorized in five groups: improvement of the performance of microbiological treatment processes, achievement of the high quality required for reuse of the effluent, recovery of valuable components and energy from the wastewater for beneficial reuse, desalination of brackish water and seawater, and treatment of concentrated liquid or solid waste residues produced in a wastewater treatment process. Development of more environmentally sustainable wastewater treatment chains in which physical/chemical processes play a crucial role, also requires application of process control and modeling strategies. This is briefly introduced by the elaboration of treatment scenarios for three specific wastewaters.

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