Action under e-COST to tackle water reuse microbiology

Action to answer critical questions about the microbiology of water reuse is to be undertaken through European multidisciplinary network e-COST (European Cooperation in Science & Technology).

The e-COST action, New and emerging challenges and opportunities in wastewater reuse, aims to tackle several potential drawbacks to reuse that still puzzle scientists.

Current applied treatments fail to completely remove microcontaminants, antibiotic-resistant bacteria and/or their genes (ARB&Gs). Knowledge on the actual effects of reuse with regard to these aspects is currently not consolidated.

Structured in interactive working groups, the e-COST action aims to achieve:

a) Identification of the microbiome and mobile antibiotic resistome in treated wastewater
b) Assessment of the potential for uptake/transmission of microcontaminants and ARB&Gs in crops
c) Determination of effect-based bioassays required for wastewater reuse
d) Identification of efficient/economically viable technologies able to meet the current challenges
e) Development of a relevant risk assessment and policy framework.

The work will establish criteria on technologies/assessment methods for wastewater treatment, and suggest new effluent quality criteria to overcome current barriers and safeguard the reuse practice. The promoters say it will have a major impact on the enhancement of sustainable wastewater reuse in light of current challenges at technological, economical and societal level.