A systematic review of significant removal processes for specific organic compounds (SOCs) in bioreactors was conducted. The processes were quantified in terms of mathematical equations for removal rates and dependent parameters using a notation consistent with IAWQ nomenclature. Six SOCs, known to be frequent groundwater pollutants, were selected for further evaluation. Model simulations for the fate of these compounds in urban wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) were performed and compared with the observed removal in the corresponding plants. A good agreement within ±15% was found for both the two different mathematical models used. Model parameters for process rate constants and partition coefficients were obtained, separately, from literature data; no fitting of the data to the monitoring data was performed.
Several mathematical models for simulation of SOCs in WWTPs are available. The limiting step for further progress in this field is considered to be the lack of process rates under typical field conditions, in particular for biodegradation. It is recommended to initiate a systematic collection, organization and filing of such data within a European or international framework.