The occurrence of micro-pollutants in natural waters (surface and groundwater)
as well as in wastewaters, has become a worldwide issue of a great importance for environmental
protection strategies. First of all, disinfection by-products, endocrine disrupting,
pharmaceuticals and personal care products are taken into account. The paper gives a brief
outline on recent advances in the detection and removal of this pollutants in/from water
and wastewater. Conventional and advanced treatment technologies capable of removing
these trace organic compounds, with a specific focus on membrane technology, i.e. reverse
osmosis and nanofiltration, microfiltration and, ultrafiltration, as well as membrane bioreactors
and forward osmosis have been described. Reverse osmosis and nanofiltration can
remove nearly all discussed compounds to the levels below permissible limits, but some
hydrophobic and small organic trace contaminants may not be effectively rejected by nanofiltration membranes.
Double systems, such as reverse osmosis/advanced oxidation processes or double pass reverse osmosis
and membrane bioreactor/reverse osmosis are found to be the most suitable in the removal of micro-pollutants.
Microfiltration and ultrafiltration, while considered to organic micropollutants removal, has to be integrated
with coagulation, adsorption, chemical complexion or biological reactors. A specific emphasis on the emerging
forward osmosis process, which can potentially be a major platform for the next generation water and wastewater
treatment technologies, has been made.