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  • 14th EuCheMS International Conference on Chemistry and the Environment (ICCE 2013, Barcelona, June 25 - 28, 2013)
  • Published:

The ability of biologically based wastewater treatment systems to remove emerging organic contaminants—a review

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Biologically based wastewater treatment systems are considered a sustainable, cost-effective alternative to conventional wastewater treatment systems. These systems have been used and studied for the treatment of urban sewage from small communities, and recently, it has been reported that they can also effectively remove emerging organic contaminants (EOCs). EOCs are a new group of unregulated contaminants which include pharmaceutical and personal care products, some pesticides, veterinary products, and industrial compounds among others that are thought to have long-term adverse effects on human health and ecosystems. This review is focused on reporting the ability of biologically based wastewater treatment systems to remove EOCs and the main elimination mechanisms and degradation processes (i.e., biodegradation, photodegradation, phytoremediation, and sorption) taking place in constructed wetlands, ponds, and Daphnia and fungal reactors.

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The financial support of the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Innovation through project CTM2012-33547 is gratefully acknowledged. Dr. V. Matamoros would like to acknowledge a JAEDoc contract from the CSIC and the European Social Fund. A. Garcia-Rodríguez acknowledges the predoctoral grant from the UdG (BR2011/27).

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Correspondence to Víctor Matamoros.

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Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

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Garcia-Rodríguez, A., Matamoros, V., Fontàs, C. et al. The ability of biologically based wastewater treatment systems to remove emerging organic contaminants—a review. Environ Sci Pollut Res 21, 11708–11728 (2014).

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  • Emerging organic contaminants
  • PPCPs
  • Removal
  • Biologically based treatments
  • Constructed wetlands
  • Ponds
  • Biodegradation