Current ongoing projects

Current Ongoing Projects

Phosphorous Recovery and Recycling from Wastewater and the potential to recover and recycle phosphorus remains untapped and various technical solutions have been developed and implemented across the globe in recent years.

The project developing a Global Compendium of Wastewater Derived Phosphorus Recovery Technologies has commenced in 2017 and aims at producing a world-wide compiled overview of promising and implemented technologies for phosphorus recovery from wastewater and highlights why some were successful and others not after analyzing drivers and barriers in selected countries. Following the successful project Tools to detect estrogenic activity in environmental waters a second GWRC project was started in 2014 named the "EDC Toolbox 2" project which expanded on the previous project  to develop and validate methods to measure estrogenic activity including estrogenicity bioassays for analysing androgen, thyroid, glucocorticoid and progestogen activity in different water matrices to include a range of substantially less well-studied endocrine endpoints. The final report has been finalised mid 2017.Three peer reviewed papers were also published on this work in Chemosphere, Environment International and Water Research.



Microplastics in the Water Cycle is a new research priority. The GWRC is undertaking an inter-laboratory comparison of microplastic analytical techniques coordinated by the  German Water Centre (TZW) in an effort to standardise methods and protocols and to compare and evaluate results of microplastic analysis in an international context. The analytical methods that are currently most commonly used are, field flow fractionation, Raman microscopy, TEM/SEM, TGA-GC and optical microscopy. A report will be drafted with a summary of the results and comparison of the different methods used and associated results with a recommendation for further research under the umbrella of the GWRC in 2018.


A global GWRC "Microplastic Fact Sheet" was drafted in October 2017 in response to the media attention received globally by most members and partners after the Guardian article was published. The fact sheet is on the GWRC public side of the website.


Antibiotic resistance (ABR) is a rapidly evolving health issue extending far beyond the human health sector. A meeting/workshop took place ahead of the MICROPOL conference in Vienna on the 17th of September 2017. There quite a lot of interest amongst members looking at resistance in WWTP and in particular recycled water and biosolids (sludge).

A dedicated page "Knowledge Hub" has been created on the GWRC website called Antibiotic resistance in the water environment and can be found under the members side of the website with the following headings:



A workshop on Antibiotic Resistance took place in Vienna in September 2017 ahead of the SETAC conference.  New projects and joint efforts were focused around the research topics microplastics and in particular antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB) and antibiotic-resistant genes (ARG) and their risk in treatment plants and water bodies. The objective of the workshop was to assess who was working in this space and how we could share the research outcomes in this field using a matrix structure to fill in gaps and possible assumptions to identify where possible health risks are evident or unclear


The procedure for the inventory of new emerging parameters identified possibilities for new joint activities and supported the exchange of information and the development of common views within the membership.  Special topics of discussion in this period included the potential risk of perfluorinated compounds with a particular focus on Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFAS). The occurrence, fate and transport, treatment, risk and implications of PFAS in the water cycle is being researched worldwide and the GWRC will be drafting a State of Knowledge report .