Technological Centre

EDAR de El Toyo (Almería), piloto de LIFE PHOENIX.

LIFE PHOENIX: removal of microplastics and regeneration of wastewater in agricultural uses

CETIM takes part, since last month, in a new Project funded under the LIFE programme of the EU. LIFE PHOENIX, led by AQUALIA FCC, is a European project that will address the problematic related to the reuse of waste water for irrigation, in an EU and national context in which water stress is an ever-growing concern. The project deal as well with the increasing challenge posed by the Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs) and the microplastics in water.


The project started on the 1st of September and will last for 4 years, and its kick-off meeting was held in remote, due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, on the 1st of October.


The international consortium, in which CETIM takes part, is formed by 8 entities and includes international partners such as Águas de Portugal and the Dutch company MicroLAN; national companies such as Newland EnTech; and Spanish public bodies such as the University of Almería, the Almería Province and the Guadalquivir Hydrographic Confederation (CHG).


The objectives of the LIFE PHOENIX project are framed in the context of the need to address the    by the EU of the legal standards and constraints for the reuse of waste water for irrigation in relation to the current legal framework in Spain (RD 1620/2007), as a consequence of the implementation of the new Regulation 2020/741.


Taking into consideration this context, Aqualia and its partner are looking to turn waste water into an element of high value for its reuse in agricultural irrigation in a safe and efficient manner, in accordance with the new standards of the Regulation, getting ahead of its entry into force in 3 years’ time.


The specific objectives of LIFE PHOENIX are:

  • The development of innovative solutions for the regeneration of urban waste water for small, medium and big waste water treatment plants.
  • The quantification and removal of contaminants of emerging concern by advanced oxidation.
  • The quantification and removal of microplastics by advanced filtration processes.
  • Design of a Flexible Portable Plant with more than 12 technologies based on the flexible multi-barrier concept.
  • Optimization of risks through smart monitoring and management.
  • Diagnose of the tertiary treatment systems in the Almería province for its optimization, with the aim of reaching the new quality standards for reuse in agricultural irrigation, as well as to evaluate the viability of the upgrading of existing waste water treatment plants to reach the said standards.
  • Development of a Decision Support System that will allow for the selection of the best combination of technologies for each plant and water.



Esquema del proyecto LIFE PHOENIX.



With the aim of demonstrating the selected technologies LIFE PHOENIX will design and construct several pilot plants integrated into containers. These plants will be itinerant and will be tested in several locations around Spain, including El Toyo in Almería, and Talavera de la Reina, among others.


EDAR de El Toyo (Almería), piloto de LIFE PHOENIX.

El Toyo WWTP (Almeria, Spain) where LIFE PHOENIX will be tested.


The role of CETIM in the LIFE PHOENIX project includes both the technical actions and those related to the monitoring of the success of the project and the dissemination of its results. First, CETIM will take care, within the technical activities, of analysing ecotoxicity, ARB and microplastics, both in the initial phase of waste water characterisation and in the validation of the pilot plants. Equally, the Centre will apply its expertise to the design and construction of a disinfection unit by UCV-LED and a unit for the recovery of nutrients by zeolite.


Furthermore, CETIM will lead the monitoring of the environmental and socio-economic impact of the project. It will participate as well in the dissemination of results through the activities of networking with other relevant projects and the publication of the results in high impact journals.