Collaboration between industry, knowledge institutes, governmental organisations and end-users is key. That was the main take-away of the webinar entitled ‘Removal of antibiotic resistant bacteria from wastewater’ hosted on 10 May by the Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP) and TKI Water Technology.
After a short introduction on TKI Water Technology, Maarten Nederlof, Senior Policy Advisor at Waterschap Aa & Maas, elaborated on current treatment technologies and the development of new technologies. He mentioned initiatives such as the application of nano filtration and natural solutions to remove pathogens from wastewater, membrane filtration and absorption by nano-clay. The current focus is mainly on the removal of medicine residues, although antibiotic resistant bacteria are just as much a threat to the environment.
Mattijs Julsing and Wilfred Appelman, both of Wageningen University, introduced their research on the removal of medicine residues and antibiotic resistant bacteria from wastewater. The research project, presented by Julsing, focusses on ‘teaching’ or mutating safe micro-organisms to break down compounds in wastewater. Appelman presented a consortium that is working on a project to remove pharmaceutical residues and antibiotic resistant bacteria at source. The consortium is working on reducing antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance (AMR ) while simultaneously developing economic opportunities for companies and research challenges. Both Julsing’s and Appelman’s solutions focus on the removal of antibiotic resistant bacteria and medicine residues at the influx to the wastewater system, rather than on an end-of-pipe solution.
Richard Bruins and Sina Samimi, both from Ferr-Tech, presented the use of Ferrate (VI) to remove antibiotic resistant bacteria from wastewater. Ferrate (VI) is an oxidant that is six percent stronger than ozone and 62 percent stronger than chlorine. It enables a one-step purification process and has specific capabilities in water and wastewater such as disinfection and oxidation of pollutants. In relation to antibiotic resistant bacteria, Ferrate (VI) inactivates and damages the integrity and DNA of bacteria.
Further discussions followed the presentations. An important aspect in the discussion, that was also highlighted in the presentations, is the need for collaboration if progress is to be made in removing antibiotic resistant bacteria from wastewater. TKI Water Technology, NWP, Water Alliance and ENVAQUA will explore paths to further strengthening and stimulating collaboration on this important topic.