Project outputs

As the project comes to its end, several outputs have been  or are being prepared. They are listed below as they belong to the Work Packages as defined in the section Work Programme:


Vymazal, J., Dvořáková Březinová, T., 2016. Removal of saccharin from municipal sewage: The first results from constructed wetlands. Chemical Engineering Journal 306: 1067-1070.

Artificial sweeteners (ASs) have been used for decades as food and drink additives. ASs are not readily metabolized by humans and are excreted mostly unchanged from the human body and therefore they can be detected in high concentrations in the inflow to wastewater treatment plants. This study evaluates the occurrence and removal of saccharin in six constructed wetlands in the Czech Republic. The results revealed that saccharin was identified in 100% of samples of inflowing wastewater. The average removal of saccharin was only 42.4%, lower as compared to >90% removal of saccharin commonly achieved in activated sludge treatment plants. There was no difference in saccharin removal during the summer and winter periods. The correlation of saccharin removal with removal of major pollutants indicated a significant positive relationship with removal of COD, relationships to other major pollutants removal were not significant. Saccharin removal was positively related (p < 0.05) to dissolved oxygen concentration in the inflow wastewater and outflow values of redox potential. This is the first study that evaluates the removal of saccharin in constructed wetlands and therefore, more research is needed to confirm these preliminary results.

Vymazal, J., Dvořáková Březinová, T., Koželuh, M., Kule, L., 2017. Occurrence and removal of pharmaceuticals in four full-scale constructed wetlands in the Czech Republic – the first year of monitoring. Ecological Engineering, in press.

The ability to remove 31 pharmaceuticals was surveyed during seven sampling campaigns at four horizontal flow constructed wetlands in rural areas of the Czech Republic. The constructed wetlands involved in the study treated wastewater from 55 to 248 PE and have been in operation for 10–22 years. A total of 31 pharmaceuticals belonging to antibiotics, antiepileptics, antiphlogistics (NSAID), antibacterial agents, anticoagulants, beta blockers, contrast mediums, diuretics, fibrates (lipid regulators), pain medications and psychoactive drugs (stimulants) were included in the survey. The survey revealed that only 7 sub-stances were detected in all samples of inflowing water (ibuprofen, diclofenac, metoprolol, furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, paracetamol and caffeine) and 7 substances were found in more than 75% of the samples of inflowing wastewater (clarithromycin, gabapentin, ketoprofen, triclocarban, triclosan, warfarin and tramadol). Other compounds were found only occasionally and roxithromycin, sulfamerazine and gemfibrozil were always below the limit of quantification in the inflow. The detailed evaluation of the treatment removal was done for 14 substances that were detected in at least 75% of the inflow wastewater samples. The results indicated wide variation in removal efficiency among systems as well as among pharmaceuticals. The highest average removal was found for paracetamol (91%), caffeine (84%) and furosemide (75%). Moderate removal (50–75%) was found for triclosan (65%), hydrochlorothiazine(61%), ibuprofen (55%), clarithromycin (54%) and tramadol (53%). Metoprolol (48%), diclofenac (41%), warfarin (31%), ketoprofen (31%) and gabapentin (14%) removal was insufficient and did not exceed 50%.The correlation analysis revealed only few significant correlations between removal of individual pharmaceuticals and other wastewater parameters. Environmental risk assessment revealed high risk for ibuprofen, paracetamol and clarithromycin in the effluent water.


Occurance of farmaceuticals in wastewater and their interaction with shallow aquifer – Case study of Horní Beřkovice, Czech Republic. Rozman et al. 2016

The environs of the psychiatric hospital at Horní Beřkovice in Central Bohemia represent a unique pilot site, where infiltration of treated wastewater into the aquifer has been taking place for decades. Ongoing complex monitoring compares the quality parameters of local wastewater and wastewater in four other catchments with no concentrated pharmaceuticals contamination sources. While the monitoring in a common sewage system showed 10 pharmaceuticals, at Horní Beřkovice their number increased threefold. Regularly monitoring of the water quality allowed to determine the efficacy of removal of pharmaceuticals from wastewater at the local sewage treatment plant. The monitoring also registered the fate of substances that move from the treatment plant into the recharge ponds and then gradually infiltrate into ground waters. The results showed a significant decrease of all monitored micropollutants, which remained bound in sediments and in the unsaturated zone. Their passage into groundwater was very limited, and after a few hundreds of meters in the saturated zone they virtually disappear. The only locally problematic substance is Carbamazepine, for which the existing treatment technologies are inefficient. The substance passes through the unsaturated zone and systematically appears in samples of groundwater at a distance of about 1 km from the site of infiltration.

The article has been published on 20.3.2017 in Water — Open Access Journal. Feel free to download the article here.

Utility model

On 14.3.2017 a Utility model “Technological extension of the wastewater treatment plant by activated carbon filter” has been registered at the Industrial Property Office of Czech Republic. The utility model describes a device that introduces a charcoal filter to wastewater treatment plant technological line. Specific technical arrangement varies from location to location and depends on the type of substances to be removed in the treated wastewater.

Fučík, P.; Zajíček, A.; Kaplická, M.; Duffková, R.; Peterková, J.; Maxová, J.; Takáčová, Š. Incorporating Rainfall-Runoff Events into Nitrate-Nitrogen and Phosphorus Load Assessments for Small Tile-Drained Catchments. Water 2017, 9, 712.

Rainfall-runoff events significantly influence water runoff and the loss of pollutants from tile-drained agricultural land. We monitored ten small (4 to 38 ha) tile-drained catchments in Czechia for three to five years (2012 to 2016). The discharge was measured continuously; a regular 14-day scheme of water quality monitoring was accompanied with event sampling provided by automatic samplers in 20 to 120 min intervals. A new semi-automated algorithm was developed for the identification of runoff events (RE) based on discharge and water temperature changes. We then quantified the share of RE on the total runoff and the N and P losses, and we compared six methods for nutrient load estimation on an annual and monthly basis. The results showed considerable differences among the monitored sites, seasons, and applied methods. The share of RE on N loads was on average 5% to 30% of the total annual load, whereas for P (dissolved and total), the share of RE was on average 10% to 80% on the total annual load. The most precise method for nutrient load estimation included the RE. The methods based on point monitoring of the discharge and water quality underestimated the loads of N by 10% to 20% and of P by 30% to 80%. The acquired findings are crucial for the improvement of nutrient load assessment in tile-drained catchments, as well as for the design of various mitigation measures on tile-drained agricultural land.


Influence of different nitrogen source on total nitrogen load in catchment

In this study we explore the impact of several measures on the nitrogen load in the Jankovsky stream (catchment area 127.44 km2). The water and nutrient balance was modelled with the SWIM model for the current conditions. Subsequently we proposed measures reducing the point and diffuse nitrogen sources, i.e. constructed wetlands and transformation of agricultural land to grass land. The effect of these measures on the total nitrogen load in the catchment outlet is discussed.

Influence of hydrological extremes on water quality

The study evaluates the impact of extreme hydrological conditions on water quality in the Jankovsky stream catchment. The hydrological model SWIM and generated time series of precipitation and temperature for abnormaly wet and dry conditions are used to assess the nitrogen load in the catchment outlet. We also evaluated the efficiency of various measures reducing the total nitrogen load during the extreme conditions.

Influence of landuse change on nitrogen leaching into the surface water

The pathways and a consequent balance of anorganic and organic nitrogen forms were modelled with use of SWAT model in the study area of Kopaninsky potok (catchment area of 7.1 km2). The initial variant simulates the recent situation of the catchment based on a continuous 11years of hydrologic, soil and agronomic management observation data. The tested variant proposes a 20% decrease of arable land in favor of grassland and its impact on nutrient migration. The study regards both point and areal pollution sources.