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Water Quality and Treatment Laboratory

The Water Quality and Treatment Laboratory (UQTA) is integrated in the Urban Water Unit of the Hydraulics and Environment Department of LNEC.

Since 2006, UQTA has been mostly engaged in R & D & Innovation on water quality and treatment, including water distribution and water reclamation and reuse aiming at increasing the competitiveness and sustainability of urban water services.

Additional information can be found at this laboratory's flyer.

Field of expertise

UQTA activity is focused on conventional treatment optimization studies and on the development & tailoring of advanced water treatments, in particular for safe drinking water supply and water discharge & reuse.

UQTA develops strategies to remove contaminants resistant to conventional treatment, such as natural and anthropogenic organic matter, emerging contaminants (endocrine disruptors, pharmaceuticals, cyanotoxins), oxidation by-products and biological forms resistant to oxidation (viruses and protozoan (oo)cysts).

The technological options are preferentially based on physical separation and/or biodegradation and adsorption, and include powdered activated carbon adsorption or activated carbon biofiltration, coagulation, (dissolved air) flotation, membrane processes and hybrid processes.

Demonstration studies and technicaleconomic evaluation are carried out for:

  • Tailoring the solutions;
  • Benchmarking treatment technologies (conventional and unconventional);
  • Monitoring strategies for the quality of water / wastewater in emerging contaminants (e.g., cyanobacteria, drugs), organic matter and oxidation by-products;
  • Consulting in water treatment plants / waste water treatment plants (construction or rehabilitation project and start up);
  • Training of technical staff.

This cross-cutting approach, and the partnership with management entities of urban water systems in R&D&I projects, is reflected in the nature and content of the projects that UQTA participates in its area of activity.


Among the different works done in UQTA, we highlight the following:

  • Water quality monitoring & advanced characterization (cyanotoxins and organic matter);
  • Performance assessment & improvement of water and wastewater treatment plants, including energy efficiency and stormwater inflow management;
  • Consultancy in WTP and WWTP design (construction or rehabilitation) and startup;
  • Lab and pilot tests of conventional technologies: coagulation, flocculation and sedimentation or flotation;
  • Strategies for controlling the oxidation by-products formation potential and biological forms resistant to chemical oxidation;
  • Water quality studies in distribution systems (residual disinfectant decay, biofilm formation potential);
  • Lab and pilot tests of advanced technologies: membrane-based processes, adsorption systems, biofilters and hybrid processes.

Other services

UQTA is also engaged in training activities and capacity building of the water sector through MSc and PhD theses, Post-Doc fellows, short technical courses and seminars.