The absence of large rivers with rather high niveau of self purifying effect in parts of east Germany leads to a discharging of the effluent of wastewater treatment plants into the groundwater in many cases. One useful consequence is the idea of realisation of decentralised measures and concepts in urban water resources management concerning municipal wastewater as well as rainfall, precipitation. At the same time, only the upper soil zone - a few decimetres - is water - saturated and thus discharge effective, even when extreme rainfall takes place. Underneath, however, there generally exists an unsaturated soil zone, which is up to now a rather unexplored retardation element of the hydrologic- and substrate-cycle. Nutrient removal in small wastewater treatment plants that are emptying into ground waters is often beneficial. The presented studies optimised an inexpensive method of subsequent enhanced wastewater treatment. The developed reactor is similar to a concentrated subsoil passage. The fixed bed reactor is divided in two sections to achieve aerobic and anoxic conditions for nitrification/denitrification processes. To enhance phosphorus removal, ferrous particles are put into the aerobic zone. Two series of column tests were carried out and a technical pilot plant was built to verify the efficiency of the process. The results show that this method can be implemented successfully.

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