In the present study, the quality of effluents from a conventional wastewater treatment plant in Italy has been analyzed. Residual level of contamination by 4-n-nonylphenol, mono- and di-ethoxylated nonylphenols has been recorded in the effluents that resulted to be also phytotoxic and genotoxic. The possibility of exploiting phytoremediation as a sustainable tertiary treatment for the depletion of the priority pollutants and for the reduction in the residual toxicity has been verified at mesocosm scale. The phyto-based treatment has been performed by the exploitation of Phragmites australis by either a bacterial-assisted and not assisted approach. In relation to the bacterial-assisted approach, two new bacterial strains, capable of using the nonylphenols as a sole carbon source, have been isolated. One was identified as a plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) belonging to the Stenotrophomonas species, and the second one was classified as a Sphingobium species strain. Both strains were independently bioaugmented in the P. australis rhizosphere. In relation to the not assisted approach, the phyto-based process determined 87, 70 and 87 % for 4-n-nonylphenol, mono-ethoxylated nonylphenols and di-ethoxylated nonylphenols, respectively. The toxicological assessment of the process evidenced the complete depletion of either the phytotoxicity or the genotoxicity of the treated effluents. With reference to the bacterial-assisted approach, the PGPR Stenotrophomonas species strain resulted to be capable of significantly increasing the efficiency of the phyto-based process in nonylphenol depletion up to 88 % for the 4-n-nonylphenol, 84 % for the mono-ethoxylated nonylphenol and 71 % for the di-ethoxylated nonylphenol.