Expected results

The expected results from the LIFE ECOGRANULARWATER project are the following:

1. Organic and inorganic pollutant removal from the water source supplying inhabitants of small towns, to ensure that the levels of nitrate, phosphate and organic pollutants such as pesticides remain below the limit established in the Drinking Water Directive (98/83/UE), Water Framework Directive (2000/60/UE) and Directive 2013/39/UE, (amending Directives 2000/60/EC and 2008/105/EC as priority substances in the field of water policy).

2. The demonstration of the feasibility of an energetically self-sufficient pilot scale plant, consisting of aerobic granular technology that ensures the complete release of nitrogen as N2 and guarantees that the emission of greenhouse gas N2O, will be zero. Moreover, the aerobic granular technology guarantees the removal of other inorganic and organic nutrients such as PO43- and pesticides, and establishes that the plant carbon footprint will also be zero. Photovoltaic solar panels and batteries installed in situ will provide 100% of the energy required by the groundwater treatment plant.

3. The selection of the most efficient carbon source, operational condition and microbial inoculums for this technology, ensuring more than 90% nutrient removal from the volume of water treated and zero waste generation in the water treatment process, therefore avoiding the discharge of brine into the environment.

4. Production of drinking water with total biosafety from a chemical and biological point of view.

5. The evaluation of the costs and benefits of this technology, in addition to the socio-economic and environmental aspects compared to other existing technologies for groundwater treatment. A more favourable cost-benefit ratio in comparison with other systems is expected;: reducing energy consumption by 70%, maintenance costs by 50% (membrane and chemical products) and waste treatment costs by 100%.

6. The drafting of a business plan and the commitment of 15 entities at a European level, to the installation of the demonstrated purification plant in other territories with the same environmental problem.