Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Purified wastewater from hospitals

05.12.2007
Hospital wastewater is contaminated with drugs that can pollute the environment. A newly developed system deals with the problem at source, directly treating and purifying wastewater from the toilets before it ever reaches the sewage plant.

Antibiotics, cytostatics and psychotropics – many are the drugs swallowed by hospital patients. A certain amount of these substances is excreted and finds its way into the sewers. Traces of them can still be detected in the water even after treatment in the sewage plant, as they are not biologically degradable. Experts are not yet fully able to predict the impact on the environment. However, there are numerous indications that the feminization of fish, the diminishing effect of antibiotics, and even a reduced sperm count among young men can be attributed to these residues in the water.

In a joint project with the Duisburg Institute of Energy and Environmental Technology IUTA, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT have developed a means of treating hospital wastewater right where it is produced – ensuring that toxic substances never even reach the municipal water network. The outstanding feature of the system is that, rather than tapping the hospital’s entire wastewater stream, it concentrates on partial streams such as the toilet sewage from the oncology department. This tends to be particularly highly contaminated due to the medication administered to patients in the course of chemotherapy, for example. Other wastewater such as that of the hospital laundry or the kitchen does not flow unnecessarily through the system – the drugs are thus concentrated in small quantities by volume. “The method is extremely effective,” says Fraunhofer UMSICHT project manager Bettina Becker. “Following treatment, over 99 percent of the tested substances have been dispelled and can no longer be detected in an analysis.” The researchers tested “wastewater” to which cyto-statics, antibiotics, psychotropic drugs and pain-killers had been added. After cleansing, it had completely lost the toxic and genetically harmful effect.

This is how the method works: First of all, the suspended solids are deposited in a sedimentation tank. Then the water passes into the reaction container, where ultraviolet light, hydrogen peroxide or ozone produce radicals that destroy the active drug ingredients. A prototype of the pilot plant, which was planned and built with funds from the BMWi, is currently installed at the IUTA. Hospitals would be well advised to install such compact plants in the wastewater system in future. There might even be a financial incentive for doing so: Surcharges which hospitals would otherwise have to pay for heavy contamination of wastewater may no longer need to be levied.

Press Office | alfa
Further information:
http://www.fraunhofer.de

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>