Jointly meeting global challenges Annual report 2012


TAPES: Transnational Action Program on Emerging Substances

25 December 2012Networks

In late 2012, knowledge partners from four north-western European countries join forces in TAPES: Transnational Action Program on Emerging Substances. With the financial support of the European Regional Development Fund (NWE Interreg IVB), the TAPES partners will pool and extend their knowledge of emerging substances, that is, of (new) substances that might constitute a threat to the environment, health and water quality. These substances can be present in surface water, groundwater and wastewater.

A number of stakeholders in the water sector are carrying out research into such emerging substances or “emerging threats ” – in the Netherlands, for instance, KWR and the water sector’s joint research programme (BTO) are doing so . But emerging substances are a cross-border problem, and one that encompasses the entire water cycle. The contamination is discharged into the environment, for instance, after wastewater treatment and then poses a threat to drinking water supply further downstream in the river basin area – sometimes even in other countries.

The need for TAPES

“It is estimated that 90% of our knowledge about emerging substances is currently not widely available, but is in the hands of a few, frequently public, entities,” says KWR’s
Dieuwke Voorhoeve. “Thanks to TAPES this knowledge will be made available to different groups of end-users, such as waterboards, water companies, managers of wastewater treatment facilities, national and local administrators, the media and interested members of the public.”

Extended knowledge base

The TAPES platform is directed at collecting and validating knowledge about the presence of, and monitoring techniques for, emerging substances in water. The same applies to the removal of these substances during traditional and new wastewater treatment and drinking water production processes. Pilot research and demonstration projects will further reinforce this knowledge basis. This should lead to responsible and cost-conscious choices in water treatment: At what point in the water cycle, and with what technologies, can specific emerging substances be best removed? “Knowledge about the impact of emerging substances on human health and on the aquatic ecosystem also falls within the scope of TAPES. This will help administrators in protecting the population and the environment against any undesirable effects of emerging substances. TAPES will be delivering a decision support system to this end,” says Voorhoeve.


TAPES is een Europees project met de volgende deelnemers:


“But,” Voorhoeve emphasises, “the TAPES partners have left the door wide open for other participants. We should never let a chance go by to complement and strengthen each other!”

© 2018 KWR Watercycle Research Institute

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