Microplastics – water industry challenges

June 7th, 2024

Presentation by Dr Catherine Rees (Melbourne Water)

Research on the impacts of microplastics is growing, along with community interest and concern. Plastics are of great interest to the water industry. Plastics that litter our streets enter stormwater and waterways. Plastics enter our sewer systems from clothes laundering and incorrect disposal of plastic items to sewer.  The water industry is funding significant research on plastics, however some topic areas, such as microplastics are posing significant challenges. Wastewater treatment plants remove up to 99.9% of microplastics, however, not all plants across Australia currently achieve this. The high cost of sampling and limitations with levels of detection are key blockers to fully understanding and optimising microplastics removal across the wastewater treatment train in all Australian treatment plants.