Introduction

Water pollution, one of the first concerns of European citizens regarding their environment

AQUATIK is a research project co-founded by the European Community, through the LIFE+ Environmental Policy & Governance programme. The project was launched in September 2011 and is expected to be completed in February 2015. The project is coordinated by CETaqua water technology center, fundación privada and implemented in partnership with Labaqua and Aqualogy Aqua Ambiente Servivcios Integrales, S.A.

The AQUATIK project tackles the issue of surface water contamination by priority pollutants which have been identified in the Water Framework Directive (WFD) 2000/60/EC. For these priority pollutants the WFD established concentration thresholds which should not be overlapped in the surface water bodies of the EU.

AQUATIK aims to design a new monitoring tool of priority pollutants, using the technology of biosensors, able to quantify automatically and at real time their concentrations in order to ensure that the concentration thresholds are not overlapped. Since urban wastewater and a major part of industrial wastewater are transferred to wastewater plants, the monitoring tool is going to be placed at the outlet of wastewater treatment plant (WWTP).

The monitoring system is developed for the quantification of seven target priority pollutants selected for their abundance in rivers and particularly in the Llobregat river basin (Catalonia, Spain) where the system is going to be implemented. Four of these compounds belong to the pesticides family (atrazine, diuron, isoproturon and simazine) and the other three are organic substances widely spread in rivers (octylphenol, nonylphenol and DEHP).

This project investigates an innovative and promising system for the protection of our surface waters and explores new possibilities offered by biosensor technologies in real time monitoring.