The first session of the course was dealing with the correct sampling of wastewater with a focus on micro-contaminants. L. Corominas reviewed wastewater sampling strategies, including the important aspects for the detection of micro-pollutants, which largely appear irregularly and at low concentrations. Later, the participants tested the insights by themselves in a practical session by modelling sampling campaigns.
After, sample preparation which is the next step of micro-contaminant analysis in wastewater was covered by D. Mutavdzic. The presented history, current and novel approaches of sample pre-treatment created a solid basis for a practical session organized by M. Celic, L. Gusmarolli and L. Mandaric in which the participants of the course learned about the aspects of lab work and could test their abilities in various steps of sample preparation.
The next day of the course was dedicated to the detection, removal and effects of micro-pollutants. M. Gros introduced the science and technology behind Liquid Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry which is currently one of the best tools to analyse multiple substances with concentrations as small as one part per billion. E. Castrignanò added to the knowledge by showing that analysis of chiral contaminants on the level of entire population opens new possibilities to track substances like illegal drugs. After, course participants joined Meri Gros in the lab where they learned about detection of contaminants in LC–MS.
The last part of the course concentrated on the occurrence and removal of micro-contaminants in wastewater treatment works. P. Verlicci gave a state-of-the art lecture on the prospects of contaminant removal in the conventional wastewater treatment and outlined the benefits but also the weaknesses. W. Gernjak expanded on the topic and discussed how innovative technologies can and do improve the removal. Lastly, M. Llorca gave an overview of the toxicological impact of micro-contaminants and why it is important to observe them.
An additional day was dedicated to a session exclusive to TreatRec members, where discussed the management and advances of the TreatRec project. The Ph.D. fellows presented their research, recent achievements and future prospects. A representative of the Research Executive Agency E. Galeazzi and an external scientific expert T. Wintgen followed the progress and the personal fellowship experiences of the fellows and gave their positive feedback on the quality and deliverables of the project, while outlining the importance of the industrial component of the project. After, a meeting of the fellows with all of their respective supervisors outlined the current challenges and how the fellows have to approach them to deliver results.