Treatment method




Biological activated carbon

A large variety of ECs reduction from wastewater.

Reduction of remaining disinfection/oxidation products [33] [34] [35] [36] .

Not producing hazardous active products.

Comparatively elevated cost in running and maintenance.

Regeneration and disposal hurdles of high sludge.

Processing of sludge may elevate global cost by 50% - 60%.

Microalgae reactor

Resource recovery of algal biomass, employed as fertilizer [37] [38] [39] .

Elevated quality effluent & no acute toxicity danger linked with ECs.

Reduction efficiencies touched by cold season.

EDCs cannot be decomposed conveniently.

Activated sludge

Lower capital and operational costs than AOPs.

More environmental friendly than chlorination [40] [41] [42] .

Low efficiencies for pharmaceuticals and beta-blockers.

Large amount of sludge containing ECs.

Unsuitable where chemical oxygen demand levels are greater than 4000 mg/L.


Constructed wetland

Low energy consumption and low operational & maintenance costs.

High performance on removal of estrogens, PCPs, pesticides and pathogens.

Clogging, solids entrapment and sediments formation.

Biofilm growth, chemical precipitation and seasonal dependent.

Needs large area of lands and long retention time.


Effective for the removal of bio-recalcitrant and ECs.

Small footprint.

High-energy consumption, fouling, and control of heat and mass transfer.

High aeration [43] cost and roughness of membrane [44] [45] .

Pharmaceutical pollutants have low efficiencies.

Chemical process


Reduced turbidity arising from suspended inorganic and organic particles [46] [47] [48] .

Increased sedimentation rate through suspended solid particles formation [49] [50] [51] .

Ineffective micropollutants removal [52] [53] [54] .

Large amount of sludge [55] [56] [57] .

Introduction of coagulant slats in the aqueous phase [58] [59] [60] [61] .


Strong affinity to ECs in the presence of H2O2.

Selective oxidant favoring disinfection and sterilization properties [62] .

Interference of radical scavengers.


Major ancillary effects on removal of ECs such as EDCs, pharmaceuticals, PCPs and pesticides.

Short degradation rate.

Energy consumption issues, operational & maintenance cost.

Formation of toxic disinfection by-products [63] [64] .

Interference of radical scavengers.

Fenton and photo-Fenton

Degradation and mineralization of ECs.

Sunlight can be used by avoiding UV light.

Decrease of OH forming chloro and sulfato-Fe(III) complexes or due to scavenge of OH forming Cl2 and SO4 in the presence of chloride and sulfate ions.

Photocatalysis (TiO2)

Degrading persistent organic compounds.

High reaction rates upon using catalyst.

Low price and chemical stability of TiO2 catalyst and easier recovery.

Difficult to treat large volume of wastewater.

Cost associated with artificial UV lamps and electricity.

Separation and reuse of photocatalytic particles from slurry suspension.

Physical process


Can remove pathogens.

Applicable for heavy metal removal.

Not fully effective in removing some ECs as pore sizes vary from 100 to 1000 times larger than the micropollutants.

High cost of operation.

Nanofiltration (NF)

Useful for treating saline water and wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) influents.

Can remove dyestuff and pesticides.

High-energy demand, membrane fouling and disposal issue [65] .

Limited application in pharmaceutical removal.

Reverse osmosis

Useful for treating saline water and WWTP influents.

Can remove PCPs, EDCs and pharmaceuticals.

High-energy demand, membrane fouling and disposal issue [66] .

Corrosive nature of finished water & lower pharmaceutical removal.