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 Safeguarding sustainability through forest certification mapping
27.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

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: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ultrathin device harvests electricity from human motion

24.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Scientists announce the quest for high-index materials

24.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

ADIR Project: Lasers Recover Valuable Materials

24.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>