German-Israeli project for advanced wastewater treatment (ELARIA)

Removal efficiency for antibiotic resistance, pathogens and fecal indicators, and risk assessment.

Water treatment in sewage treatment plant

This research project will provide reliable data on additional wastewater treatment steps for the elimination of antibiotic resistance and health-related microbiological parameters.

Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are designed to reduce the concentration of pollutants and prevent direct discharge of wastewater into rivers and oceans. However, conventional wastewater treatment is not sufficient to completely remove biological contaminants. Faecal microorganisms, including multidrug-resistant pathogens, antibiotic-resistant agents and enteric viruses, are released from WWTP effluent into surface water sources. Minimising the release of these biological contaminants is becoming increasingly important to improve the quality of surface water sources and safe water reuse.

The objectives of the proposed study are to generate reliable data on advanced wastewater treatment for the removal efficiency of multi-resistant pathogens, antibiotic resistance genes, enteric viruses, protozoan parasites and indicator microorganisms in order to assess the microbial risk of different applications of the produced effluent. The study will be conducted at three scales: (i) full-scale wastewater treatment plant studies using advanced treatment methods, (ii) bench scale experiments with UV and UV-LED irradiation, ozone, chlorine and electrochemical treatment, and (iii) pilot plant studies (Shefdan wastewater treatment plant, operated by Mekorot) on the reduction efficiency of multi-barrier treatment. Sensitivity for detection of antibiotic resistance and viruses will be tested by cultivation and by comparing detection of short and long amplicons by qPCR.

The data obtained will be used for a microbial risk assessment considering different uses of the treated effluent (e.g. river restoration or irrigation). Obtaining data on the reduction of antibiotic resistant bacteria, antibiotic resistance genes, pathogenic viruses and Cryptosporidium by different treatment processes will increase the confidence of authorities and the public in the microbial quality of the effluent produced. Comparing the reduction of indicator micro-organisms (phages, faecal coliforms and enterococci) with the reduction of enteric viruses and Cryptosporidium for the different treatment processes and recommending monitoring parameters will facilitate the monitoring of microbiological quality in the future.


Ho, J.; Hübner, U.; Bühler, J.; Drewes, J.; Tiehm, A.Elimination of antibiotic resistant bacteria, viruses and indicator bacteria in sequential bio filtration for purification of WWTP effluent. In: IWA Water Reuse 2019, 12th IWA International Conference on Water Reclamation and Reuse, Berlin, 16.–20. Juni 2019, Book of Abstracts: 2 pages (2019)

Krauss, M.; Wasielewski, S.; Stauder, S.; Richter, P.; Maurer, P.; Hügler, M.; Zahumenski, Y.; Kosow, H.; León, C.; Minke, R.Integrated water management and water reuse solutions for prosperous metropolitan regions tackling water scarcity. In: IWA Water Reuse 2019, 12th IWA International Conference on Water Reclamation and Reuse, Berlin, 16.–20. Juni 2019, Book of Abstracts: 995–997 (2019)