Discover the Editor's Choice: From each issue of the leading journal Water Science & Technology a member of the Editorial Board selects one outstanding paper to share across IWA Publishing platforms.  

IWA Publishing is pleased to announce that the 56th Editor's Choice Paper, chosen by Daniele Cecconet, is:

Carbamazepine removal from low-strength municipal wastewater using a combined UASB-MBR treatment system

M. J. Moya-Llamas, A. Trapote, D. Prats

https://doi.org/10.2166/wst.2021.096

Why was this paper chosen?

The presence of pharmaceutically active compounds (PhACs) in wastewater is an issue that has abruptly emerged in the last couple of decades and that needs to be properly addressed. Conventional wastewater treatment plants are often unsuccessful in the removal of these contaminants, and this may lead to their release in the environment and consequently to negative effects on the environment.  A particularly harsh problem is represented by recalcitrant PhACs: a notable example is carbamazepine.

Moya-Llamas et al. proposes a process composed of an upflow-anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor followed by a membrane bioreactor (MBR), for the treatment of low-strength municipal wastewater characterized by the presence of carbamazepine. This approach combines both anaerobic and aerobic biological processes, allowing a variety of redox conditions and degradation pathways to ensure the removal of recalcitrant carbamazepine.

The UASB-MBR system proved to be particularly suitable for the removal of carbamazepine at organic loading rates above 0.7 kg COD m-3 d-1; anaerobic granules in UASB were the main contributors to carbamazepine removal. In addition, generation of biogas allowed the reduction of the overall energy consumption of the combined system.

I appreciated reading a paper that represents an integrated approach to recalcitrant pharmaceutical pollutants removal with practical relevance and I hope that this also applies to the readership of this issue of Water Science & Technology.

Daniele Cecconet, Editor

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