Learning Module 8: Research and development in drinking water treatment, wastewater and sludge treatment

Download the slides clicking here.



1st section: drinking water

The Learning Module deals with the new drinking water quality issues through an analysis of the new quality standards of the European Drinking Water Directive, with particular reference to the emerging pollutants (e.g. cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins, organic micropollutants, endocrine disruptors, chlorates and chlorite). Some technological and management solutions applicable for the control of specific pollutants will be examined, with special focus on innovative solutions that, for several reasons, have not yet been widely used in the drinking water sector. A particular focus will be dedicated to:

  • membrane technologies for the removal of cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins from lake waters;
  • technologies to remove specific pollutants, including advanced oxidation processes;
  • technologies for the adsorption of emerging organic micropollutants.

For each of the proposed pollutant, after a brief presentation on the health and regulatory aspects, some available technologies for their control, with different readiness level, will be presented, with a special focus addressed to innovative solutions through the presentation of experimental researches and case studies.


2nd section: wastewater and sludges

The efforts made during the last decade in the wastewater treatment field (sewage sludge included) are mainly aimed at improving the (conventional and trace) pollutant removal efficiency, as well as reducing the energy consumption and sludge production. Additionally, a strong debate has been sparked on the socalled paradigm-shift in the wastewater industry: wastewater treatment facilities are increasingly being considered as centralized installations where various resources (energy, organic matter, nutrients, water …) can be recovered from the sewage.

On the one hand, innovative technologies must be adopted to achieve these goals, but, on the other hand, assessment tools must be developed for highlighting benefits and criticalities arising from the application of new technologies.

The lectures given in this module deal with alternative solutions for material resources and energy recovery in wastewater treatment plants: both commercially available solutions and solutions in development are presented and discussed including their economic, technical, social, and environmental feasibility. Sewage sludge minimization technologies will be also discussed.



  • Giving a technical and scientific update about legislation and emerging issues regarding drinking water quality
  • Giving a technical and scientific update about recent trends and emerging challenges regarding the efficiency and the sustainability of wastewater treatment plants
  • Giving an overview (with the presentation of case studies) of the emerging technologies available at national and international level for the control of emerging pollutants in drinking water, sludge minimization and the recovery of material resources and energy in wastewater treatment plants


Target audience

  • Technicians, specialists and researchers in the field of drinking water and wastewater treatment
  • Water utilities




1st section:

Sabrina Sorlini (Università di Brescia)

Silvestro Damiani (Università di Pavia)

Andrea Piazzoli (Isle)


2nd section:

Giorgio Bertanza (Università di Brescia)

Maria Cristina Collivignarelli  (Università di Pavia)

Alessandro Abbà (Università di Brescia)