A study has been conducted on a retention soil filter (RSF) to test its effectiveness in removing pharmaceutical residues and microorganisms from combined sewer overflows (CSOs). Efficient removal of solids, nutrients and heavy metals has already been proven. The possibility that organic micropollutants and microorganisms are also retained by the use of RSFs has been identified, but data are lacking. Results obtained in this study, in which testing for removal by a RSF of numerous micropollutant substances was performed, are most promising. The pharmaceuticals diclofenac and ibuprofen are presented in detail as examples of such micropollutants. Both showed a reduction in positive samples of more than 55% as well as a significant reduction in median and maximum concentrations. For microorganisms such as Escherichia coli, coliphages and Giardia lamblia (cysts), an average reduction in concentrations by three logarithmic steps (99.9%) was achieved. These results add to the evidence that using a RSF in the advanced treatment of wastewater from CSOs reduces the exposure of watercourses to pharmaceutical residues and microbial contamination.

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