While the facility did not set out to treat micropollutants - residual pharmaceuticals and other recalcitrant organic chemicals - improving other parts of treatment with longer exposure to desirable microbial metabolism does improve effluent quality. My current research is on how much we can improve existing biological treatment units with respect to micropollutant removal. If you could remove a majority of the complex compounds in the biological unit, there will be less need for more expensive activated carbon or oxidation technologies to polish off the remaining micropollutants.
Here information on the article and a link to the abstract:
“Reduction of Intersex in a Wild Fish Population in Response to Major Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrades”
Keegan A. Hicks*† , Meghan L. M. Fuzzen†, Emily K. McCann†, Maricor J. Arlos†, Leslie M. Bragg†, Sonya Kleywegt‡, Gerald R. Tetreault§, Mark E. McMaster§, and Mark R. Servos†. Environ. Sci. Technol., Article ASAP DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b05370 Publication Date (Web): December 27, 2016