IFAT 2018 aims at reducing microplastics

During the opening of the trade Show IFAT in Munich experts talked about reducing microplastics. Discussion between experts Rüdiger Baunemann, Giulio Bonazzi, James Carnes, Kim Cornelius Detloff and Emily Penn. Photo: IFAT

Plastic particles less than 5 mm in diameter form a serious threat to the water environment. While Brussels avoids taking measures the market addresses the problem. During the trade show IFAT 2018 which is held from May 14 to 18 in Munich a broad alliance of companies and research institutes stepped up and investigated avoidance strategies, procedures for wastewater treatment and technological solutions.

Stefan Rummel, Managing Director of Messe München said at the opening: “As the world’s leading trade fair, IFAT also is a trend indicator that accompanies emerging environment issues and new challenges right from the beginning. The question of how to deal with microplastics in waters, sewage and probably also in drinking water definitely is one of them.” During the opening on May 14 experts discussed how rivers and seas can be freed from plastics in the medium and long term.

35 million euros for research
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) launched a new research program on Plastic in the Environment. Until 2021 the program will invest 35 million euros in 18 joint projects with around 100 partners from science, industry, associations and municipalities. In the booth of BMBF the joint project EmiStop is presented. Objective of this project is to optimize existing treatment technologies for industrial water to reduce microplastics in sewage. Ideally, the particles in the wastewater could even be fed back to the production.

Car tires pollute the aquatic environment
The booth of the Technical University (TU) of Berlin, Department of Urban Water Management will focus on a project dealing with tire wear in the environment. According to scientists it has not been investigated yet how much tire wear is released to the aquatic environment via road runoffs. The joint project shall bring clarity here. At IFAT, TU Berlin will present a sampling basket for immediate roadside examination of the street runoff. The basket was developed together with the companies GKD-Gebr. Kufferath and ORI Abwassertechnik.

Filter microplastics at sewage treatment plants
Invent Umwelt- und Verfahrenstechnik developed a filter named iFilt for use after secondary sedimentation in treatment plants. In addition to removing activated sludge flakes, precipitation flakes after phosphorus reduction or powdered activated carbon, the filter holds back microplastics. Also ATB Water targets microplastics. According to own statements, the company specializing in small wastewater treatment systems is extensively working on a technical solution to filter microplastics out of the wastewater flow of small treatment plants.

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