UKWIR has carried out the first study of its kind in the UK to develop a robust approach to sampling and detection of microplastic particles in the treated water cycle. This included accurately measuring the presence of microplastic particles in potable (drinking) water, treated wastewater and in the solid residues (sludge) produced by both the water and wastewater treatment processes.
UKWIR commissioned the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, a world-class research organisation focusing on land and freshwater ecosystems and their interaction with the atmosphere, to undertake this important research study for the water industry.
This research has confirmed that both the water and the wastewater treatment processes effectively remove 99.9% of microplastic particles from the final product i.e. the potable water and treated wastewater. It also demonstrates that a robust process for sample collection and analysis, free from airborne contamination, is vital to ensure accurate results.
For this project, microplastics were defined as particles >25 µm that had been captured on 10 µm filters.