The present research aims at giving an approach to the issue of surface water contamination due to micropollutants in rural areas. The catchment of the Sûre river was selected as a reference case for the Greater Region, characterized mainly by settlements with low population density, small water bodies and small- to medium-sized wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). For these WWTPs, conventional technical solutions for micropollutants elimination are not suitable; therefore, an adapted mitigation strategy is needed to prevent the impact of micropollutants, especially during the dry season. As a suitable alternative to more intensive technologies, Constructed Wetlands (CW) in Vertical Flow (VF) configuration have been successfully tested over one-year period and the elimination rate of 27 micropollutants was quantified. Emission reduction by VF was then considered in a static mass balance model that calculates the longitudinal concentrations profile for the entire river catchment. The EmiSûre approach which focuses on river quality (concentrations of pollutants) instead of emitted loads, effectively allowed to simulate adopted measures a priori and resulted efficient to support decision-makers with WWTPs upgrade scenarios.

  • A novel approach is applied to assess mitigation measures for micropollutants elimination in rural areas.

  • Constructed wetlands are promising for micropollutants elimination.

  • Emission reductions by Constructed Wetlands are considered in a static mass balance model.

  • The selection of the WWTPs resulted in a significant load reduction.

  • The EmiSûre model successfully serves as a valuable tool for decision-makers.

This content is only available as a PDF.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY 4.0), which permits copying, adaptation and redistribution, provided the original work is properly cited (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Supplementary data