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The DEMEAU Storyline

The goal of the storyline is to describe the larger content for the project as well as the interconnectedness of the four key technologies explored within the DEMEAU project. The storyline is as follows:

"Polluted and contaminated water is and has been the main source for diseases. In the developed world, this problem has been tackled since a century whereas 768 million people worldwide still do not have access to safe drinking water. In Europe, there are upcoming challenges to react on. In face of demographic changes, climate change, ageing and deteriorating infrastructure, as well as the detection of emerging pollutants such as pharmaceuticals, personal care products and industrial chemicals, innovation in the water and waste water sector is needed to ensure the long-term sustainability and quality of water resources. DEMEAU demonstrates technologies that address emerging pollutants in water and wastewater, showcasing their benefits and feasibility through Life-Cycle and Life-Cost Assessments and highlighting current barriers such as regulatory and authorization issues. The project thus contributes to driving future development of legislation by compliance with current legislation in Europe. Companies and utilities need to work together to implement solutions that will drive down costs and improve both efficiency and water quality."


Key Definitions

  • Emerging substances are substances that have been detected in the environment, but which are currently not included in routine monitoring programmes at EU level and whose fate, behavior and (eco)toxicological effects are not well understood.
  • Emerging pollutants are pollutants that are currently not included in routine monitoring programmes at the European level and which may be candidates for future regulation, depending on research on their (eco)toxicity, potential health effects and public perception, and on monitoring data regarding their occurrence in the various environmental


Key Messages

The storyline helps to communicate several key messages of the DEMEAU project. First, the storyline determines the pollutants in drinking and waste waters in Europe. The next part of the storyline explores the water extraction and treatment of groundwater recharge. The final part of the storyline discusses drinking water treatment and quality assurance aspects.

As elaborated below, all four technologies explored within the DEMEAU project provide important contributions for detecting pollutants as well as methods for reducing them. Key messages of the storyline are elaborated below by target audience.

Scientists and Technology Developers

Worldwide, around 11,000 new substances are registered every day. These substances need to be tested and monitored. Cost-effective and efficient technologies need to be developed to ensure the provision of safe drinking water. There is a need for more sustainable and lower footprint solutions. Scientific results need to be tested for their life cycle and related costs as well as their feasibility. Large-scale pilot projects help to demonstrate the effectiveness of these technologies to the utilities, who will be the ultimate users.

Technology users (Utilities)

Innovation in the water and wastewater sector may create higher operation costs. However, they contribute to a better quality and monitoring of our water resources. Consumers need to be made aware regularly and openly about changes in their water quality and the interconnection with water charges, in order to ensure consumer support.

Technologies to deal with problems posed by emerging pollutants as their removal or monitoring already exist. They are being tested at small and large scales for their technical feasibility as well as for their (cost) effectiveness throughout their life cycle within the DEMEAU project. They include Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR), Hybrid Ceramic Membranes (HCMF), Hybrid Advanced Oxidation (HAO) and Bioassays (BioA). These technologies, which offer more sustainable and lower footprint solutions for additional treatment and monitoring technologies, are a chance to keep costs low while increasing effectiveness. .

In the coming years, legislation in Europe and around the world will be tightened with regard to micropollutants in municipal waste water and in the discharge into surface waters. Innovating today will thus help ensure long-term sustainability and quality of water resources.


The application of innovative technologies to ensure safe water supply is crucial. Emerging pollutants are currently not included in routine monitoring programmes at the EU level. Scientists research the (eco)toxicity and potential health effects of these substances and monitor their occurrence in the environment. DEMEAU looks at several methods and technologies to ensure safe water supply.

General public

The water sector is facing huge challenges. With the increasing number of chemicals in our environment due to the increasing use of pharmaceuticals, pesticides or personal care products and the increasing accurateness of measuring methods, more and more compounds are detected in the water resources. Those are emerging pollutants. They are present in normally very small concentrations in our urban waste water, the aquatic environment and our drinking water. How they react if they occur together in an environment is often unknown. Research to uncover the behaviour of those pollutants, as single compound or in a mixture will take time. However, there are technologies like bioassays that can easily detect toxicity of compounds in environmental samples such as water. DEMEAU wants to foster implementation of bioassays in regulations to react on the risks that emerging pollutants pose on us and out environment.

To react on the challenges, water utilities need to innovate their purification techniques. Techniques that eliminate emerging pollutants from waste water will keep our environment and with that our drinking water clean and safe. DEMEAU wants to reduce barriers to implementation of those technologies. With a sustainability assessment, analysing economic, ecologic and social issues, the project aims to implementation of eliminating techniques with regards to emerging pollutants. Applying innovative techniques is costly; however the short-term investment will create long-term benefits, both in terms of resource availability, quality and price.


Visual Storyline

The short animation below highlights the unifying elements of the storyline visually.