CS#1 PFAS and PM(T) fate and remediation in the semi-closed urban water cycle, Berlin

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View of the Bode Museum, Berlin (@TTStudio/shutterstock.com)

Our aim: Ensure a secure supply of drinking water in the semi-closed water cycle


In Berlin's semi-closed urban water cycle, most drinking water is obtained via bank filtration, which is a proven nature-based solution. But as in most urban areas, the quality of drinking water sources in Berlin is challenged by PFAS and other industrial chemicals. While the presence of pharmaceuticals has been the recent focus, little is known on the contribution of different sources of PFAS and other industrial chemicals and their possible impacts on Berlin’s water supply.

Case study 1 will address this knowledge gap in several ways: along the urban water cycle, monitoring in wastewater and urban runoff is exemplarily conducted in a sub-area of Berlin to identify influencing factors that can cause contamination and potential sources of industrial chemicals. Based on the results of the monitoring, we will use a suitable modeling approach to improve the overall management of the urban water cycle, e.g. the ability to reliably detect a wide spectrum of PFAS. In the field of drinking water treatment, the case study focuses on developing technical measures for the removal of PFAS and other industrial compounds from source water with a high content of organic matter. Further, we want to improve assessment tools for human health risks with toxicological tests and modelling.

What we have done so far...


So far, we designed Prototypes of small passive samplers to be tested in urban runoff and wastewater monitoring campaigns. We also selected a model region for the urban runoff and wastewater monitoring campaign in Berlin and identified first suitable sampling sites using geographic information systems.

Further, we selected a broad spectrum of adsorbents for lab-testing, completed a comprehensive adsorbent screening and set up a small-scale column test cell. We also sampled different wastewater treatment plants with advanced treatment in Germany, Sweden and Switzerland.