The present invention relates to the use of non-floating, non-abrasive, highly-filled polyurethane (urea) compositions of high water-absorbability, which during their production contain no cells capable of growth as carriers for biomasses in the biological treatment of waste-containing liquids. These carriers have a filler content of greater than 15% by weight and less than 95% by weight (based on the moisture-free weight of the filler-containing polyurethanes). The fillers are selected from the group consisting of natural materials containing finely-divided fossil lignocelluloses or the secondary products thereof (e.g., peat, lignite, mineral coal or coke), active carbon, finely-divided distillation residues, inorganic fillers, homogeneous or cellular plastics particles (and more particularly polyurethane foam (waste) particles) and mixtures thereof. The polyurethane (urea) is a hydrophilic and/or hydrophobic polyurethane(urea), and preferably contains cationic groups. These highly-filled, polyurethane (urea) carriers have a water-absorbability exceeding 33% by weight of water in the swollen carrier.
These carriers allow improved treatment of industrial and municipal liquid waste to be achieved in biologically-operating treatment plants. Treated waste which has reduced toxicity, a diminished smell, improved clarity and a very small residual content of organic, decomposable material is obtained due to the increased decomposition effect thereof.