Glossary of terms

Definitions of terms referred to throughout this website.

PPCPs – refer to pharmaceuticals and personal care products, a group of micropollutants considered as environmentally-relevant compounds.

Biological activated carbon (BAC) – used in wastewater treatment to remove organic micropollutants by combined biodegradation and activated carbon adsorption.

Denitrification – a process where nitrate or nitrite is reduced to nitrogen gas in the absence of dissolved oxygen.

Endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) or endocrine disruptors – are natural and synthetic compounds that interfere the normal function of the body’s endocrine system causing, for example, harmful reproductive and developmental effects.

Estrogenic potential or estrogenicity – the potential of the compound to interact with the estrogen receptor

Genotoxic – means causing damage to the genes.

Granular activated carbon (GAC) filtration – a filtration process where the active carbon, in the form of granules, is fixed in a filter cartridge.

In vitro – done in artificial or controlled environment; also known as “test tube experiment”.

In vivo – done on a living subject, ex. animal testing.

Liquid chromatography – a separation technique using liquid as a mobile phase

Membrane bioreactor (MBR) – a widely used wastewater treatment technology combining membrane filtration and biological activated sludge process.

Mutagenicity – the capacity of the substance to induce mutations.

Pathogens – disease-causing microorganisms which includes protozoa, bacteria and viruses.

Powdered activated carbon (PAC) – a form of active carbon used in wastewater treatment to remove dissolved organic contaminants by adsorption process.

PPCPs – refer to pharmaceuticals and personal care products, a group of micropollutants considered as environmentally-relevant compounds.

Tertiary treatment – is usually employed following secondary biological treatment in order to enhance the quality of the effluent before discharge or further reuse. 

Transformation products – refer to oxidation products, degradation products or metabolites that are formed after biological or chemical degradation of micropollutants.

Sand filtration (SF) – a wastewater treatment process consists of a multiple layer of sand particles of different diameter commonly used to enhance water quality and usually applied as a polishing step to further remove suspended solids, BOD, and bacteria.

Ultrafiltration (UF) – is a separation process using membrane with nominal pore size of 0.1 to 0.01 micron.

Wastewater quality parameters:

BOD – Biochemical oxygen demand – the amount of oxygen used by microorganisms for the biological oxidation of organic matter and ammonium, usually expressed as BOD5 (over a period of 5 days) or BOD7 (7 days period.

DOC – Dissolved organic carbon – is the fraction of organic carbon in the dissolved form that passed through a 0.45 micron filter.

NH4-N – the amount of nitrogen in the form of ammonium.

Total P – Total Phosphorus – the amount of phosphorus in the effluent present as soluble inorganic phosphate and organic phosphorus.

TSS – Total suspended solids – the solid particles in the wastewater; measured as the amount of dried biomass retained in the filter after evaporating in an oven at ~105°C.