Removal of >10 µm Microplastic Particles from Treated Wastewater by a Disc Filter

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In this paper, we evaluate the performance of a disc filter that retains microplastic (MP) particles from treated wastewater. A focal plane array-based Fourier transform infrared imaging technique enabled MP quantification and an in-house-built software (MPhunter) facilitated automatic analysis of the obtained infrared spectra. The disc filter retained 89.7% of particles, and 75.6% of their mass. This removal efficiency is comparable to removal rates reported by previous studies. However, the presence of an unexpectedly large number of MP particles whose size substantially exceeded the pore size of the disc filter suggests that particles could either bypass or pass through the filter mesh, somewhat diminishing the performance of the filter. The concentration of MPs in the effluent was 3 MP/L, corresponding to an estimated mass concentration of 0.31 µg/L. The annual MP discharge from the studied WWTP after the disc filter was estimated to be 1.1 kg in 2017. It was hence not a significant contributor to MP emissions in Denmark. Although the operation of the disc filter seems to have been disturbed, it nonetheless achieved a high MP removal rate. Therefore, we conclude that it is a suitable technology to decrease the concentration of discharged MPs in wastewater effluents
Original languageEnglish
Article number1935
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sep 2019


  • Disc filter
  • FT-IR spectroscopy
  • Microplastic
  • Wastewater

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