Antibiotic resistant bacteria are continuously discharged into the environment via effluent due to inefficient treatment of wastewater. The reservoir for antibiotic resistance in the environment therefore grows. Effluent post-treatment can play an important role in reducing the input of antibiotic resistance into the environment. Advanced wastewater treatment techniques have been implemented for the removal of pharmaceuticals in pioneering countries such as Switzerland, with activated carbon and ozone as the most applied ones.
Although antibiotic resistance in the environment is a recognized problem, initiatives for their removal from wastewater are not as far as they are for pharmaceuticals. In the Netherlands, advanced treatment is currently investigated at pilot-scale at several locations, with the goal of removing pharmaceuticals. Within this framework, the discharge of resistant bacteria and genes can be potentially reduced along with the pharmaceuticals, depending on the technology applied. The focus of this research project is therefore, to study the removal of antimicrobial resistance on a pilot scale and to compare it to the removal of pharmaceuticals.
Research projects are defined within a research theme during an idea driven iterative process between the participating commercial parties and invited academic researchers. This leads to a clear business orientation combined with excellent academic quality of the research activities. In the program, in which 51 professors are connected, the focus is on the following five main research areas in clean water production and waste water treatment.
One floor of the Wetsus building is completely dedicated to the research. The floor plan consists of almost 500 m2 laboratory, divided in analytical, biological, chemical and synthesis laboratories. All analyses in the analytical lab are being performed by a team of chemical and research analysts that can support PhD’s in their research.