WIT Press


ASSESSING SOCIAL PERCEPTIONS OF EMERGING POLLUTANTS IN SOUTH-EAST SPAIN

Price

Free (open access)

Paper DOI

10.2495/RBM190181

Volume

234

Pages

12

Page Range

181 - 192

Published

2019

Author(s)

MARIA DE LOS ANGELES BERNAL-ROMERO DEL HOMBRE BUENO, PABLO AZNAR-CRESPO, ANTONIO JODAR-ABELLAN, JOAQUÍN MELGAREJO MORENO, DANIEL PRATS

Abstract

EMPORE project, co-funded by LIFE Programme (LIFE15 ENV/ES/000598), aims to demonstrate an innovative, cost-efficient and highly replicable technology for the removal of Emerging Pollutants (EPs) from European Waste Water Treatment Plants (WWTPs). In action, C2, a set of indicators to monitor the socio-economic impact of EPs removal, was developed. Framed in this action, a robust assessment of the social perception of these contaminants was performed in the South-East Spain, where the use of reclaimed water is widespread due to the structural water scarcity. An expert consultation by means of a survey technique was held from November to December of 2018 with a sample size of 114 cases. The survey focused on regulation, risk perception, technologies and socio-economic impact. A descriptive analysis of 19 variables was carried out. In general, the results suggest that the presence of EPs can be a significant risk and destabilization factor in the reuse of wastewaters. The impact of new regulations concerning EPs awakes uncertainty among water experts. Aspects such as the price of water free of EPs, treatment costs or the potential of different technologies to remove these compounds are sources of ambiguity. Nevertheless, experts believe new regulations on EPs will positively influence public health, social confidence or environmental sustainability, among others. It highlights that experts agree that the future of the reuse of wastewater passes through the combination of technologies. These findings provide water planning policy makers with very useful information in the water resources management of the South-East Spain because recent European laws can set new limits of emerging pollutants in waters.

Keywords

emerging pollutants, social perception, descriptive statistical analysis, South-East Spain, water reuse