Water recycling technologies (TrinkWave)

In the joint project TrinkWave, new multi-barrier treatment processes for recycling water are developed to support drinking water supply. A project focus included the inactivation of hygienically relevant viruses, bacteria and antibiotic resistances, and the reduction of harmful micropollutants and transformation products.

The reuse of treated wastewater is becoming increasingly important worldwide, especially in arid and semi-arid regions. However, the reuse of waste water may also be economically and ecologically useful in areas such as Germany with a moderate climate. To ensure an acceptable drinking water quality, the inactivation of pathogens (especially viruses) and antibiotic resistances, as well as a reduction of anthropogenic micropollutants has to be guaranteed.

In the BMBF-funded research project TrinkWave, innovative multi-barrier concepts are developed for reusing waste water by means of sequential groundwater recharge.

Batch and column experiments as well as demo projects are conducted to acquire an in-depth process understanding. This facilitates an adaption of the operating parameters to the specific boundary conditions.

New molecular biological methods such as PMA-PCR and long-amplicon PCR are used to evaluate the process, in order to assess the elimination of hygienically relevant bacteria (including antibiotic-resistant bacteria).

New performance parameters are developed to evaluate biological treatment methods. These parameters then become part of multi-disciplinary approaches to evaluate the innovative combination of methods to reuse waste water.

As a final result, specific recommended actions are suggested for licensing authorities and planners.


Ho J., Seidel M., Niessner R., Eggert J., Tiehm A.: Long amplicon (LA)-qPCR for the discrimination of infectious and noninfectious phiX174 bacteriophages after UV inactivation. Water Research 103: 141-148 (2016) DOI 10.1016/j.watres.2016.07.032

Stange C.,Sidhu J.P.S.,Tiehm A.,Toze S.: Antibiotic resistance and virulence genes in coliform water isolates. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 219: 823-831 (2016) DOI 10.1016/j.ijheh.2016.07.015