CS #3: Water reuse from a wastewater treatment plant with a high share of industrial wastewater, Barcelona Province




Eurecat team members with the electrochemical cell used to study the degradation of PFAS (@Eurecat)

Our Aim: Obtain water for irrigation from industrial wastewater


Not only does 60 to 80 percent of the treated wastewater of the entire region flow into the Besos River. The secondary effluent from industrial wastewater (chemical, pharmaceutical, food, leather and textile), which is treated at the Montornès del Vallès wastewater treatment plant, is also discharged into the river - polluting it with contaminants like PFAS.

The Consorci Besòs Tordera (CBT) and other partners like Eurecat, together with the Catalan Water Agency, which is the organism with competences in water planning and management in Catalonia, are working together to promote the water reuse in the Besòs River basin. This is very important, especially in the dry areas of Catalonia where water restrictions and consumption cuts are often adopted due to the occurrence of severe droughts. The amount of freshwater that can be used for agricultural irrigation is then limited. To compensate for this decreased amount of water, treated wastewater could provide an alternative source for agricultural irrigation.



The technological strategy for water reuse will consist of a hybrid treatment combining electrochemical oxidation processes, providing cost-effective removal of microcontaminants and transformation products for subsequent agricultural irrigation. The reclaimed water-to-crop transfer of contaminants will be assessed, and the risk to human health from direct (crop) and indirect (fodder for cattle) consumption will be quantified. Our aim is not only to provide technical solutions, but also to provide advice to farmers on crop selection and agricultural best practices which minimize transfer into edible parts of crops.

case study 3_nr1

Wastewater treatment plant in Montornès del Vallès (@CBT)

Case Study 3_ favorit

The Urban River Lab in Montornès del Vallès (@CBT)

What we have done so far...


In the last months we found out which type of contaminants are present in the water at the outlet of the wastewater treatment plant in Montornès del Vallès.

We have also selected the contaminants we want to eliminate from water, based on its toxicity and occurrence, and have built an experimental setup at the laboratory to test the destruction of these contaminants from water.