Models for predicting the fate of micropollutants (MPs) in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) have been developed to provide engineers and decision-makers with tools that they can use to improve their understanding of, and evaluate how to optimize, the removal of MPs and determine their impact on the receiving waters. This paper provides an overview of such models, and discusses the impact of regulation, engineering practice and research on model development. A review of the current status of MP models reveals that a single model cannot represent the wide range of MPs that are present in wastewaters today, and that it is important to start considering classes of MPs based on their chemical structure or ecotoxicological effect, rather than the individual molecules. This paper identifies potential future research areas that comprise (i) considering transformation products in MP removal analysis, (ii) addressing advancements in WWTP treatment technologies, (iii) making use of common approaches to data acquisition for model calibration and (iv) integrating ecotoxicological effects of MPs in receiving waters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)448-461
Number of pages14
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Ecotoxicology
  • Experimental design
  • Micropollutant fate
  • Removal mechanism
  • Trace chemicals
  • Uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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