Phyto-Mediated Wastewater Treatment Bioreactor (PWBR)

Case ID:

The Phyto-Mediated Wastewater Treatment Bioreactor (PWBR) is a process for treating various types of wastewater through removal of contaminants, including residual forms of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, heavy metals, etc. The PWBR can also remove Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CEC's) which include, but are not limited to, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, personal care products, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, perfluorinated compounds and engineered nanomaterials. PWBR is superior to industry alternatives due to the modularity and portability of the treatment system and its ability to target specific contaminants particular to individual cleaning projects.



Wastewater treatment is a process to remove contaminants from wastewater or sewage and convert it into an effluent that can be returned to the water cycle with minimum impact on the environment, or directly reused. New pollution problems have placed additional burdens on wastewater treatment systems. Today’s pollutants, such as heavy metals, chemical compounds, and toxic substances, are more difficult to remove from water. Rising demands on the water supply only aggravate the problem. The increasing need to reuse water calls for better wastewater treatment.


If wastewater is not properly treated, then the environment and human health can be negatively impacted. These impacts can include harm to fish and wildlife populations, oxygen depletion, beach closures and other restrictions on recreational water use, restrictions on fish and shellfish harvesting and contamination of drinking water.



  • Wastewater treatment
  • Environmental cleanup



  • Modularity
  • Portability
  • Amenability to optimization for removal of specific CEC based on design variables
  • Simplicity of design
  • Moderate comparable cost
  • Allows for inclusion or combination of other treatments methods, such as ozone, ultraviolet (UV) radiation, activated carbon, etc.
Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Tod McCauley
Assistant Director of Licensing, CALS
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Matthew Recsetar
Joel Cuello